For the 4th consecutive season, injuries highlight the storyline of another promising Catawba team. Transfer power forward Daquan Lily (Raleigh, NC) will miss the entire season after undergoing back surgery in early September. Sophomore point guard Peyton Pappas will be battling through a ligament injury to his wrist that kept him out of preseason. Senior guards Jameel Taylor (who scored his 1,000th point last season) and transfer wing Larry Curry are battling ankle injuries that have left them in walking boots and could keep them out for the first few weeks of the season. To make matters worse, 6’8 freshman Tae Cannon has been hobbled by a knee injury that put him on crutches for the majority of October
Despite the mass quantity of injuries, the Indians are deep at the guard position. 6 different guards will find playing time in the team’s rotation. The Indians return point guard Jordan Barber, who wowed a large Catawba crowd with his impressive vertical during Catawba’s Midnight Madness. Catawba will also feature two freshman guards in TJ Jeffers and Henderson Lentz. Jeffers, a 6ft scrappy perimeter player out of Burlington, will serve as a big help defensively. Lentz, who went into cardiac arrest two and a half years ago went during a Catawba Casketball Camp, brings brains, sharpshooting, and of course “heart”.
“The game moves a lot faster than I’m used to, but now I understand where to be on the court and how to cut (to the basket) for easy buckets”, commented Lentz after a preseason scrimmage. Henderson’s ability to score off the ball will take loads of pressure off of the ball-dominant Taylor and Morrison
However, this season, all eyes will be on senior shooting guard Jerrin Morrison. Fresh off of a bounce-back season where he earned his 1,000th point, 6’2 scoring machine has his eyes set on the record book.
“I’m going after (Dwight) Durante’s records this year”, said a confident Morrison. “Did you know he scored 58 points in a game? I’m gonna have to go for 60”
While Morrison has lofty expectations for himself, so far he looks stronger, and more focused than ever before. The senior threw down windmills and right-handed tomahawks with ease, while also drilling a long, contested three-pointer in Jameel Taylor’s face during the Midnight Madness scrimmage. If any player on this Catawba team can re-write the record books, look for Morrison to accomplish that feat.
Overall, the injuries, inexperience, and lack of size will haunt this Catawba team as they pursue a championship. So far this season, as one person is cleared from an injury, another has gone down. Building chemistry has been a near-impossible feat. Outside of Morrison, Taylor, Barber, and 6’7 big Jeremy McLaughlin, the rest of the players have not really been on the court for the Indians prior to last season. This season will be too much of a learning curve for the players to overcome. However, mark 2018 down as the year that Catawba will finally become the best in the SAC.