Julius Randle, No. 3 vote-getter in the preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker, suffered broken bone in his foot on Nov. 24 and likely out three months. We take a look at how this will affect this season’s national player of the year race and how injury has played a role in previous years.
Many factors go into selecting our national player of the year.
Previous season honors and positioning in credible player rankings play a role in the preseason, while team success and in-season production gain significance as the season wears on. Other factors such as postseason all-star game performances, strength of supporting cast and competition level often come into play.
Unfortunately, there is an elephant in the nobody enjoys mentioning: injury.
For Julius Randle, a 6-foot-9 power forward from FAB 50 No. 8 Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), injury will prevent him from winning the prestigious honor this season.
In the first half of a game against Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest on November 24, Randle fractured a bone in his foot. According to Jason Jordan of USA Today, Randle was scheduled to have surgery November 27 and the early prognosis is he’ll be out 12 weeks.
Under the Mr. Basketball USA criteria, last summer’s Under Armour Elite 24 MVP will miss too much time this season to earn national player of the year honors. Randle and his family remain upbeat about the situation and it’s still unclear exactly how many games he’ll actually miss or whether the injury will keep him off end-of-season honors teams or out of national all-star games.
The Mr. Basketball USA Tracker panel will likely drop Randle in its next go around and that will likely elevate Aaron Gordon of Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) closer to front-runners Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) and Jabari Parker of Simeon (Chicago). Those first four front-runners had a sizeable lead over the other candidates so it remains to be seen if Randle’s injury will make it a three-horse race or open up the door for others.
Unfortunately, Randle’s injury will likely drop Prestonwood Christian, last year’s City of Palms Tournament champion, in the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 team rankings. Prestonwood Christian lost to Duncanville, 58-48, and to make matters worse the Lions were already without highly-regarded 2015 forward Mickey Mitchell. He tore his ACL on November 2 while playing football.
Over the last 20 years, catastrophic injuries to Mr. Basketball USA candidates have been minimal — but have occurred.
In 2010-11, Quincy Miller of Westchester Country Day (High Point, N.C.) also was the No. 3 vote-getter in the preseason, appearing on seven ballots and garnering 54 points. Early in the season, Miller (currently in the NDBL on assignment from the Denver Nuggets) tore his ACL and did not appear on a single ballot in the next voting round.
The only national junior player of the year to miss the majority of his senior season was former St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) star Delvon Roe. The 6-foot-8 forward was the top junior for the 2006-07 season, but suffered a torn meniscus in the first game of his senior year in a nationally-televised match up against Jrue Holiday and Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.).