It’s been a relatively tough season within the NEC on the injury front, and St. Francis Brooklyn is the latest program to feel that pain.
Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance broke the news that Glenn Sanabria will have surgery on a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, ending his 2015-16 campaign immediately. With only six games played for the season, St. Francis should be able to red-shirt him, preserving a year of eligibility. In the short-term, however, the defending NEC regular season champions must forge on without a backcourt player they were counting on.
In the small (and ultimately inconclusive) sample size that was his sophomore season, Sanabria’s possession rate as the starting “1” predictably went up, whereas his efficiency headed in the opposite direction. The 5’11 guard converted just 13 of 46 shot attempts, although to be fair, it was against tough competition and he had been playing hurt ever since the Saint Louis game. It’s safe to assume his shooting percentages would have improved during league play. At the very least, Sanabria was protecting the basketball and getting his teammates involved, as evident from his 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The overall value Sanabria brought to the team also extended beyond the advanced statistics, as his toughness and cool demeanor under pressure gave Braica a player he could inevitably count on through the ups and downs. Now, all the St. Peter’s High product can do is become the best cheerleader he can be from the bench.
As the lone true point guard remaining on the Terriers roster, Yunus Hopkinson should see a majority of the minutes as Braica’s ball facilitator. At first, his insertion into the rotation gave St. Francis a player capable of hitting 3s with consistency. The junior had a three-game run – easily the best shooting streak of his collegiate career – where he impressively sank nine of his 15 treys. The rest of team meanwhile could only muster a mediocre three-point percentage of 24.0% over the same time span.
Now, Hopkinson, who has since predictably cooled off as a perimeter threat, must fully embrace a role based solely on running the offense. So far so good for the New York City native – his 11 assists against a lone turnover in last week’s loss to NJIT was a nice start, but can he keep it up?
On the surface, not much should change on either end of the floor with Sanabria’s spot going to Hopkinson. Rather, it’s the Terriers’ precariously thin backcourt depth that should keep Braica tossing and turning at night. It’s assumed Icelandic freshman Dagur Jonsson would take over the backup point guard duties, despite his comfort as an off-the-ball guard. In fact, power forward Chris Hooper could be considered the next best passer on the team after Hopkinson, illustrating the lack of true passers currently on this roster.
In other words, there’s little room for error with the omission of the team’s best passer and someone who was capable of making perimeter shots in Sanabria. For now, the established veterans of the program, namely Amdy Fall, Tyreek Jewell and Hooper, will have a greater burden placed on them moving forward, while the unproven shooters like Jewell, Jonsson, Jon Doss and Hopkinson (a career 21.9% 3-point shooter even with the hot start to this season) will need to step up and keep defenders honest.
With good health though, the Terriers’ conference projection shouldn’t change all that much as a team hovering near the middle of the pack. Anywhere between fifth to seventh place in the NEC regular season sounds about right for a program trying to partially rebuild after losing Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones from a championship roster. That effort just got a little harder for Braica without his starting floor general.
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