Delaware’s injuries pay off long-term

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Josh Brinkley’s (right) ankle opened the door of opportunity for two of his teammates. (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Tom Zamonski (@tomzamonski)

Entering the season it appeared Monte Ross was content with only having three players see significant minutes in the frontcourt. With Jamelle Hagins and Brinkley solidified as the starters, transfer Carl Baptiste was going to be Monté Ross’ reliable option off the bench.

With last year’s reliable backup forward Kelvin McNeil graduating, Delaware’s depth in the frontcourt had been viewed as a slight area of concern entering this season. When Brinkley went down with an ankle injury, Ross needed someone to step up temporarily to fill the gap.

Fortunately for Delaware, they might have gotten more than what they were asking.

Brinkley suffered a minor ankle injury against Kansas State and has missed the past two games. This led to Baptiste being slotted into the starting lineup.

With Baptiste as a starter, Delaware has relied on inexperienced players to support the Blue Hens frontcourt. Two players who have seized the opportunity have been Marvin King-Davis and Larry Savage.

King-Davis is a redshirt freshman who had only played an average of 4.5 minutes during the team’s first four games. In those games he only scored two points and grabbed four rebounds.

Since Brinkley’s injury, King-Davis has taken over Baptiste’s role as the key big man reserve for Delaware. In the past two games, the 6-7 forward has averaged 20 minutes a game. His most impressive performance was against Pittsburgh when he set career highs in points (seven), blocks (three) and minutes played (25). King-Davis has also averaged 3.5 rebounds in the past two games.

In Delaware’s loss to Temple, it was Savage’s turn to play significant minutes. The 6-5 forward entered the game near the midway point of the first half when guard Kyle Anderson had to briefly leave the game with an injury. Before the game, Savage had only appeared in one game while playing a mere four minutes.

Savage could see his minutes increase following a strong performance at Temple. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

“Larry hasn’t played a whole lot and I thought he did a magnificent job of taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself to him and he really gave us a lift right away off the bench and I was very happy to see that because we needed it,” Ross said following the game. “I was very happy with what Larry gave us off the bench.”

Savage had one of the best games of his collegiate career. Seeing his most time in a Blue Hen’s uniform with 17 minutes, Savage tied career highs in points, 6 on 3-3 shooting, and steals, one. Even when Anderson was able to return, Savage remained on the court as his play impressed his coach.

Even though Ross said that Brinkley is currently listed as day-to-day, the head coach may now be able to give the senior more rest as King-Davis and Savage have been impressive.

The Blue Hen’s could now go from having three players seeing significant time at the forward position to five with the decent play of King-Davis and Savage. This is why Brinkley’s minor injury could end up being a major boost for Delaware.

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