Obviously a very, very bad thing. The one spot MSU couldn’t have an injury and they have one. Some thoughts as to various ramifications…
– What we don’t know yet is the recovery time for either Schilling or Carter. With Carter, my read is that it’s highly likely he’s done for the year. Izzo hasn’t confirmed but mentioned that they thought it was ACL related. Here, it’s been left vague as has the recovery time. I imagine we’ll get at least some clarity on Gavin shortly, as in the next time Izzo speaks to the media.
– Nick Ward now absolutely becomes a starter. He probably also becomes a guy who has to play at least 25 mpg and maybe more than that if they can manage it. Tall order considering the way young guys typically don’t get the benefit of a whistle, but that’s the reality.
Offensively, I don’t think that’s any problem. Defensively? Very much remains to be seen.
– I’m tending to think that if we assume it’s long term with Gavin, that means Kyle Ahrens’ redshirt is not happening. That may not seem to be related but I tend to think it is. Kyle’s nobody’s idea of a perfect 4 man but he has more strength than any of the wings (not counting Bridges as one of those) and thus probably gives you your best bet of a decent defensive matchup.
Might also mean more Matt Van Dyk, who also has strength and might be the third best jump athlete on the team behind Bridges and Harris. If you get backup minutes from those two guys behind Miles, you can use Kenny Goins more often at the 5, which is what I think they’re going to have to do.
– What does it mean stylistically for MSU? I have no idea. Any of the obvious approaches one could take don’t fit what Izzo ever wants to do. You could try to turn games into a 94 foot sprint via constant pressure but that’s not a sound way to play and I have difficulty imagining Izzo opting for that. You could opt for a zone most of the time, since that’s where the pressure will be due to lack of size, but again, just not what Izzo has ever shown an inclination for.
So the short answer is, I don’t know what they’ll do and I doubt anyone outside of the MSU staff and team has any clue, either. The *only* good news is it happened now. They still have a bit of time before the season tips off. It would be harder still if this took place 3 weeks into the season.
– There may well be implications for the 2017 recruiting class now as well. The assumption has been Ben Carter will take one slot next season, as I think he’d be a very safe bet to get a sixth year. If Gavin is out for the entire season, you’d presume he’d be back as well…or maybe not. Maybe not either, to be honest.
Right now, MSU has one open slot and then Harris and Ellis are slated to be gone. Heading into the season, you also had Carter and Schilling, which meant 5 open slots. Now there are 3 if Carter and Schilling would both be back next season. MSU already has two commitments. They’re all-in on Tugs Bowen. Beyond that, though…do they continue to push for Brandon McCoy? Nojel Eastern? Very much open questions right now requiring further clarification as to what’s going on with the two injured players.