After suffering two major knee injuries in high school, it seemed that anything Saint Joseph’s got this season from incoming freshman Kyle Molock would be a bonus.
In fact, I wondered if Molock would even see the court at all this season and asked coach Phil Martelli last week if St. Joe’s planned on redshirting the 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard from Dublin, Ohio.
Not only did Martelli say he didn’t intend to redshirt Molock, the coach spoke as if he would be a part of the Hawks’ rotation this season.
That all came to a crashing and unfortunate halt last week, though – probably not long after our Wednesday morning conversation – when Molock tore the ACL in his right knee during an individual workout at Hagan Arena. That’s the same ACL that Molock tore this past January as he was attempting to come back from major ligament damage to his left knee suffered in July 2010.
During our conversation, though, Martelli had nothing but high hopes for Molock.
“His strength is the first thing that jumps out at you,” Martelli told Philahoops last week. “He doesn’t look like a freshman. He’s strong and carries himself like a leader, communicates like a leader.”
Another knee injury has to be difficult to handle for the young man, so our thoughts certainly go out to him. St. Joe’s said Wednesday that Molock would have surgery Aug. 10 and miss all of this season.
“Everyone involved in our program is supporting Kyle and his family at this difficult time,” Martelli said in a statement. “He has, in a short time on campus, made a positive impression academically, athletically and social. This injury, while a challenge, will not stop Kyle from becoming a great Hawk.”
If there is a positive to the injury, it will give the St. Joe’s coaching staff time to refine Molock’s shot. That’s an area of his game that Martelli hopes to improve.
“His shot needs to be tweaked a little bit but now we know that,” Martelli said.
Prior to the injury, Martelli was hopeful to get his form straightened out prior to the start of the season thanks to the new NCAA rule this year that allows coaches two hours of on-court instruction during summer session.
“I go back to (Hawks sophomore guard) Chris Wilson last year,” Martelli said. “When we got Chris starting in September, we’re like we’ve got to change the shot. Well, that took a whole year. Now with Kyle we see it and know the corrections we have to make.”
How does Molock’s injury affect St. Joe’s? Well, it’s hard to say for sure.
He was a big-time prospect as a sophomore who had given Purdue a verbal commitment before re-opening his recruiting. I’ve never seen him play, but his strength and ball-handling skills are most impressive in this YouTube video.
I didn’t expect much, if anything, from him this season because of the prior injuries. But Martelli’s optimism had me rethinking whether he would be a legitimate backup to sharpshooter Langston Galloway at the two guard, a needy area for the Hawks, and further depth behind Tay Jones and Wilson at the point.
Who knows? Most of all, here’s hoping that Molock will recover and get back on the court at or near his previous form.
-Baumann likely to redshirt: Molock’s injury leaves the Hawks with two newcomers, but likely just one for this season as Martelli told Philahoops that big man Javon Baumann likely would redshirt this season in order to develop his game.
The 6-foot-8, 258-pounder prepped in Germany and has raw skills that need to be refined, according to Martelli.
“Javon is exactly what I thought, he is a big, big body kid,” Martelli said. “He’s a big guy. They’re not easy to get. He’s certainly a willing participant. We have to improve his conditioning and build his confidence that he can handle this atmosphere.
“His first week and a half he was unnerved. The last two weeks he was fine.”
The only situation in which Baumann wouldn’t redshirt, Martelli said, would be due to injury to one of the Hawks’ frontcourt players.
“He’s going to need a year,” Martelli said. “It’s not going to be a mystery when we redshirt him (unless), God forbid, something should happen to our three frontcourt guys.”
-Miles impressing: That leaves 6-7, 211-pound forward Isaiah Miles as the lone freshman who will see court time this season.
All along, Miles was the player most expected to have an immediate impact. Thus far, Martelli has seen nothing to dismiss that notion.
“The biggest thing with Isiah is there has been progress,” Martelli said the Baltimore native. “He’s a beautiful, beautiful kid and he loves basketball.”
The challenge for Martelli is figuring out where to fit Miles into the rotation.
“There’s still that, ‘What position does he play?’” Martelli said. “He’s a basketball player. Is he a forward? Is he going to be banging heads every night with Ron (Roberts) and C.J. (Aiken). Not every night. But are there nights where he’s going to have to? Yes. Can he be a small forward and play off dribble-penetration? He has shown that.”
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