Just a handful of minutes into the St. John's basketball program's quarterfinal game in the 2011 Big East Tournament against the Syracuse Orange, senior D.J. Kennedy fell to the floor in pain. The Johnnies best rebounder, third-best scorer and second-best passer knew right away that it wasn't good.
"[D.J.] just said, 'It's bad,'" St. John's head coach Steve Lavin said after the game. "I said, 'How bad?' He said, 'It's bad.'"
Lavin, who was unsure about the status of the 6-foot-5 hybrid guard-forward after the game, found out later that Kennedy had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. According to ESPNNY.com's writer Kieran Darcy, "his season, and his college career, are over."
The loss of Kennedy will be felt, however, things like this happen to teams -- just ask Syracuse which earned a 79-73 victory Thursday, but lost senior center Arinze Onuaku late last season.
Luckily for St. John's fans, Kennedy isn't as important to the Johnnies success as Onuaku was to SU's. I guess, you could say Red Storm supporters are fortunate that it wasn't senior guard Dwight Hardy or senior forward Justin Brownlee. (The last statement doesn't take away how sad the Kennedy situation is.) But St. John's Sweet 16 or Final Four hopes are not completely smashed with this news, just cracked.
"It’s going to affect us a little bit," said SJU guard Dwight Hardy, "because he’s versatile. But now we have to pick up the slack, somebody else is going to have to score a little bit more, everybody on this team is going to have to add more value than what they’ve been adding and I think we have the potential to do that."
Kennedy can be replaced, as senior Sean Evans proved with a solid 11-points, 12-rebound performance on Thursday. Lavin will just need to adjust his lineup and try to get some more magic out of those Coaches vs. Cancer sneakers.
|2010 - D.J. Kennedy