Another really good college basketball team has had its season rocked by the news of a season-ending injury.
Xavier sophomore guard Edmond Sumner tore his left ACL during the Musketeers' win over St. John's on Sunday. The school announced Monday afternoon that Sumner's injury is season-ending, per MRI evidence. He'll undergo surgery "in the near future."
"I am devastated for Edmond," Xavier coach Chris Mack said in a statement. "Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to great people. Through diligent rehab, hard work and prayer I know Ed will return to the court better than ever. He's an awesome kid, a fearless competitor and a terrific teammate. I'm going to miss coaching him the rest of the year. As far as our current team is concerned, our goals have not changed. Next man up."
Sumner ends his season with averages of 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
Where does Xavier (15-6, 5-3) go from here?
Four things to know
1. Xavier just lost its two best point guard options in a week
Point guard Myles Davis, who sat most of the season due to suspension, left the program last weekend. Sumner was Xavier's floor general most of the season, anyway. But now Mack is in a tough spot without either player. The Musketeers will be forced to use a freshman more frequently. Quentin Goodin is going to get a lot more reps. Fortunately, Goodin has been used plenty this season as is. He's averaging 15 minutes. Still, there's a difference between being a reserve player vs. getting the car keys in the thick of conference play.
2. Xavier's season isn't done
I've been critical of Xavier in recent weeks. It has not been able to mount up quality victories, and now this injury puts the squad in a tough spot. But Mack's program has rallied many times as an underdog before. The Musketeers are an 8 seed in Jerry Palm's latest bracketology update. The Musketeers are still ranked, and they have three of their next four at home, including a big opportunity Feb. 11 against Villanova. Trevon Bluiett put up 40 points against Cincinnati, and this team is good at getting to the foul line. For X fans who are worried that Sumner leaving means the NIT is next, I would wait on that.
3. Sumner now has a tough choice between staying or going
So now Sumner is in the same position as OG Anunoby. The Indiana defensive stalwart was projected to be a top-25 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft before his season ended with a knee injury. Anunoby hadn't impressed to such great lengths, in such a loaded draft class, to definitively establish himself as an elite pick. He has to decide whether to gamble on his future: he won't be able to work out for NBA teams, as he'll be going through rehab well into May and June.
Sumner is in the same spot. He is seen by many to be one of the 30 best prospects in college hoops this season -- good explosiveness, athletic, length, takes good shots and can play defense. I love watching him, and thought he was one of the great prospects to develop in the past two years. He wasn't considered an NBA guy when he first stepped on Xavier's campus.
What's key to remember with Sumner is how often he has been hurt. He has been this good despite battling injury after injury. He had tendinitis in his first year on campus, and he had a scary fall last season that led to a concussion. There have been other injuries as well, including a lingering shoulder issue. Yet he was still effective. That tells you about his toughness.
4. The Big East has been downgraded big-time by injuries
Between Sumner going down and Creighton losing its MVP, Mo Watson Jr., the conference is now in a situation where two teams with Final Four expectations are now just hoping to win an NCAA Tournament game due to losing their valuable floor leaders. Villanova has had projected starter Phil Booth out for most of the season as well. Creighton has not looked the same since it lost Watson -- coincidentally in a game against Xavier two weeks ago -- and now we'll see what Xavier can do. The Musketeers' next game is at home Wednesday vs. Seton Hall.