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The Spiders’ all-senior starting five is no more as Richmond announced Monday that redshirt senior Nick Sherod tore his right ACL in practice on Thursday, October 15.  Sherod will miss the entire 2020-2021 season for the same injury he suffered to his left knee in 2018.  He returned from that injury last season by leading the A-10 in 3FG% (46.6) with splits of 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

It is a devastating blow for a squad returning its entire starting five after a potential NCAA Tournament “at-large” bid was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic back in March.  Last year the Spiders headed into Brooklyn with the 2nd seed in the A-10 Tournament.

Sherod became the fourth member of Richmond’s roster to cross the 1000-point threshold last season.  He scored 27 points in his emotional return in 2019 and remained a constant for a team that was finding its identity after successive losing seasons.

In a practice on Thursday, Sherod went to make a routine play driving to the basket when his knee gave out.  “I just got the official results today [Monday]” Sherod said in a phone call, “but I mean I knew, I knew what was going on.”  Sherod could tell it was torn when it happened, having been in that spot before.  “My first emotion was just, I was in a lot of pain, obviously.  But after that I just couldn’t believe it happened again,” he explained. 

Identical in diagnosis, the circumstances between the injuries could not be more different.  “The first time it happened I was upset, but I knew a fifth year would mean I’d have the chance to be on a really good team.  This year was a little bit different because you don’t really know what’s going to be ahead.”  Most analysts were predicting an at-large bid for the Spiders this year, with Jeff Goodman ranking them 14th nationally in his preseason poll.

Sherod, who already would have another year of eligibility after the NCAA granted it to all 2020-2021 winter athletes, now must ponder where his career goes next.  He has not yet had time to think about it, he said, and first needs to schedule his surgery.

Sophomore Tyler Burton will likely step into the open starting spot.  He started one game as a freshman and was a major rebounding reinforcement in 14 minutes off the bench nightly.  He will give Richmond a more athletic, high-flying look. Burton led the team in total rebounding percentage (15.9%) and also had a team-high 91.6 defensive rating.  The Spiders’ added depth indicates that the current bench rotation will absorb Sherod’s extra minutes until a freshman’s play pleads otherwise.  

The loss of Sherod is more debilitating off the court than on it.  He has been a leader in the locker room as a captain, but just as equally in his community, speaking out against racial injustice on numerous occasions.  “This is more about Nick as the teammate and Nick as the person than it is Nick as the player,” Associate Head Coach Marcus Jenkins said in an interview Monday.  “He is such a thoughtful, nice kid and such a leader of our team that that’s what it’s about.”  

“Our entire program is heartbroken for Nick. He has been the most consistently excellent student-athlete in our Spider family and an outstanding player, teammate and leader during his career,” Head Coach Chris Mooney said Monday in a team press release.  

Richmond will begin its non-conference schedule on November 25 against Kentucky in Rupp Arena.  The Spiders remain a favorite, alongside Dayton and St. Louis, in the Atlantic-10, although their national preseason polls will certainly take a hit.

 

Reach Noah by email at noahgoldberg10@gmail.com

Nick Sherod Tears ACL, Will Miss 2020-2021  was originally published on espnrichmond.com

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