Tuesday, February 5, 2013
How serious is Branch's injury?
By Matt Giles
Jamal Branch, a transfer from Texas A&M, became eligible for St. John's in mid-December, and since he officially stepped onto the court for the Red Storm, Branch's addition allowed D'Angelo Harrison to move off the ball. That slight roster shift allowed Harrison to focus more on his offense, and the guard is one of the lone Johnnies who can create his own shot off the bounce. It also gave Branch the reins of coach Steve Lavin's offense, and while Branch's assist rate isn't that impressive, he has shown the ability to help lead the break; per Synergy Sports Technology, St. John's transition, which is one of the only ways SJU is effortlessly able to score points, scores 1.08 PPP.
However, there is a chance Branch might miss a few games. The sophomore suffered an MCL sprain against Georgetown, and it is unknown when Branch will officially return. The St. John's twitter feed has some insight from Lavin, and since there isn't a timetable yet, it would appear that Branch, who was likely to return to Queens next season, will not see much playing time going forward.
What does that mean for the squad? Harrison will either shift back to the 1 or Lavin could go small with a backcourt of Harrison, Phil Greene, and Felix Balamou. Also, there is the possibility that Marco Borgault, a little used wing who was effective against the Hoyas and is one of the team's better shooters. He does have a tendency to struggle defensively, but in Lavin's amorphous 2-3 zone, there is much opportunity to hide Borgault behind the fantastic range and innate shot-blocking ability of Chris Obekpa.