Vermont may be without their senior leading scorer Hector Harold for a second straight game when they face Yale on Thursday.
Head coach John Becker said that the senior – who leads the team with 11.4 points per game – will try to practice on Wednesday. He is coming back from a foot injury, which caused him to miss the Catamounts win against Wagner Sunday.
“I want to be very cautious with guys this time of the year,” Becker said adding that his goal is to start league play with as healthy a roster as possible.
Vermont closes a four game home stand with Yale on Thursday, which is followed by a road trip to Saint Louis and a trip to Southern California where the team will play USC and UC Santa Barbara.
If Harold is held out of the lineup, it will likely mean more time for freshman Zach McRoberts – who missed the first seven games of the season with a knee injury. The 6’6″ younger brother of Josh, who is on the Miami Heat, is heralded as one of the team’s better defenders.
“If Hector’s healthy, obviously we need him, but unless he’s fully healthy we can use these games to get Zach [playing time],” Becker said. “Zach’s brings a lot of energy and a lot of good things, but on the offensive end right now things are moving fast.”
“He’s played two college games, so all the minutes he can get over the next four games will be important for him to get the game to slow down for him a little bit. Whether Hector plays or not, he’s going to play a good amount.”
Becker’s rotation includes just about every freshman on the team except for Ernie Duncan, who will miss the rest of the season with a back injury and redshirt. Redshirt sophomore Brendan Kilpatrick has been dealing with a concussion, but returned from a two game absence and knocked down a three-pointer in their win over Wagner.
“If Hector’s healthy, he’s our leader and he’s our leading scorer, so we want him out there, but if he’s not 100% healthy then I’m going to keep him on the sidelines and get the other guys playing experience,” Becker said. “Even if it means maybe losing a couple of non-conference games, I want to make sure that we’re healthy and as experienced as possible once league play starts.”
Vermont is 5-4 on the young season, having already notched a win over Hartford in America East play on Dec. 3.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.