BY JOE BOOZELL & KYLE BEERY | COLLEGIAN STAFF
Next man up.
It’s a common theme heard in the world of sports. And for the Butler basketball team, that mantra will be more prevalent than ever after learning that star forward Roosevelt Jones will miss the 2013-2014 campaign due to torn ligaments in his left wrist.
The junior suffered the injury just four minutes into the Bulldogs’ opening game on their Australia trip three weeks ago.
Jones was the only Bulldog to start all 36 games last year. He averaged 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and led Butler in assists with 3.5 per contest.
Butler is already losing its two leading scorers from last year in Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith due to graduation. Losing Jones means they will head into Big East play minus their top three scorers from last year, with senior forward Khyle Marshall now leading all returners with 9.6 points per game last season.
Marshall said it is clearly a tough loss, but it will be a team process to fill his absence, not one individual.
“At the end of the day, we still have to keep our goals in mind,” Marshall said. “Everybody’s got to step up and fill his void.”
Butler is also losing its three most heavily involved players on offense from last year.
Usage percentage is a stat that estimates the percentage of offensive plays in which a player was used while he was on the floor. Smith, Clarke and Jones
had a combined usage percentage of 70.6 when they were all on the floor at the same time a year ago, according to sports-reference.com.
Jones is a unique player on both ends of the floor, new head coach Brandon Miller said.
“We obviously don’t have another Roosevelt Jones sitting on our bench to say, ‘Oh, plug that guy in,’” Miller said.
He said it won’t be one guy that replaces Jones, but the whole team instead.
“We have to come together as a team and move forward and everybody increase their role,” Miller said. “And move forward in terms of our team coming together, instead of one single player replacing him.”
It’s clear that the loss of Jones has impact. Still, his injury brings the opportunity for other players to showcase their abilities on the big stage.
So who will start in Jones’ absence?
It remains to be seen, though sophomore guard Devontae Morgan and junior guard Andy Smeathers are likely candidates to replace Jones in the starting lineup.
The Bulldogs will continue their conditioning program the first week of September.
Jones was unable to be reached for comment.