After an injury-riddled year in 2016-17 that resulted in a 20-loss season, the Saint Joseph’s Hawks are dealing with a similar storyline heading into the new year.
According to the school, sophomore forward Charlie Brown will miss the next few weeks with a fractured wrist. In addition to Brown, Jon Rothstein is reporting that senior guard Shavar Newkirk (ACL) has still not been cleared for full contact and has no timetable to return.
The season is still weeks away from beginning, but Brown and Newkirk are two of St. Joe’s top four scorers.
Brown averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 34.5 minutes per game during his freshman season, while shooting 38 percent from the field, 38 percent from beyond the arc and 82 percent from the free throw line. The 6’6″ forward is only 185 pounds, but his value comes with how hard he plays and his ability to stretch the floor. He was selected by the Atlantic 10 coaches as a Preseason Second Team All-Conference member, along with teammate Lamarr Kimble, who is also coming off an injury.
Meanwhile, Newkirk averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game in 2016-17, shooting 47 percent from the field overall and 40 percent from beyond the arc. He also dished out 3.5 assists, grabbed 4.8 rebounds and snagged 1.3 steals per game.
The Hawks were selected to finish in 3rd place — by the coaches at A10 Media Day — in a wide-open league. With Brown, Newkirk and Kimble returning, Phil Martelli’s squad has experience, talent and elite scoring, but will need to remain healthy to reach their full potential.
Brown’s wrist injury is not expected to be a long-term issue, but will he be ready for the season opener against Toledo on November 11? And if he is ready, will he be 100 or will he be rusty coming off an injury that obviously limits the amount of shots he can take during his rehab?
In Newkirk’s case, he did not suffer a setback, however, it is generally not a good sign that there is no timetable for his return this far into the rehab process.
St. Joe’s can overcome the Toledo’s, UIC’s and Princeton’s of the world without Brown and Newkirk playing or at 100 percent, but they will need everyone ready to go in December when they face Villanova, Temple and St. John’s.