The Rutgers Scarlet Knights announced a self-imposed one game suspension for true freshman point guard Corey Sanders, as well as sophomore Shaquille Doorson's foot injury sidelining him indefinitely on Tuesday.
In an interview with Scout.com, Scarlet Knights head coach Eddie Jordan explained how the injury to Doorson was foreseeable - Jordan put an end to Doorson's participation in preseason activities after an injury sustained in practice. Sanders - Jordan's highest rated recruit in the 2015 class - will sit out the season opener against Rutgers-Newark for participating in a summer non-sanctioned basketball event. The four-star point guard out of Florida became a Youtube sensation last year due to his stellar athleticism and entertainment qualities.
With the season approaching, what does each situation mean for the Scarlet Knights?
Doorson enters the 2015 campaign as a sophomore who appeared in 29 games his freshman year and averaged approximately 10 minutes a game. The 6'11, 270-pound center wasn't a major contributor last season, as he averaged only 1.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. A native of the Netherlands, Doorson is expected by many to play as the primary backup center to redshirt freshman Ibrahima Diallo, who sat out last season as a partial qualifier to the NCAA.
Even with modest stats such as Doorson's, this serves as a meaningful absence for the Scarlet Knights, as their tallest player is out of the lineup for extended time and the post will be in the hands of an unproven commodity. Diallo possesses intriguing talent and size, but with Doorson missing from competition, Diallo will be forced to produce on the court right away without a viable healthy backup plan. Expectations for post players are low this season for Rutgers, but Diallo will welcome Doorson back with open arms as he cannot man the post all by himself.
With Sanders out of the lineup for only one game, this shouldn't serve as any area for concern for the Rutgers faithful. Coach Jordan didn't appear to be perturbed about his young point guard competing when he shouldn't have been. The following is a quote from a statement made by Jordan regarding the suspension of the freshman point guard.
"Corey loves the game and never passes up the opportunity to play."He competed when he shouldn't have, however, we accept the penalty. We look forward to having him on the floor versus Howard on Nov. 15."
A strong competitive edge is something that division one athletes have fostered since their high school days or earlier, so the fact that Sanders is being punished for playing basketball shouldn't leave cause for outrage amongst Rutgers fans. It would have been wise for Sanders to look into the event and make sure it was sanctioned, but with all the possible infractions under the NCAA rulebook, this seems very pedestrian.
The loss of these two scholarship players shouldn't scare Rutgers fans, as Sanders will be available this weekend and the Doorson will return to the team before season's end. If the roles were reversed where Sanders was out indefinitely, there would be reason for concern in New Jersey.
Diallo could be a breakout player this year in the Big Ten, which could make Doorson susceptible to limited minutes throughout the season. Rutgers wouldn't be intriguing with Sanders out of the lineup, so as long as the Floridian is inserted into the lineup each night, the Scarlet Knights have reason for optimism for the future.