Richmond’s Nelson-Ododa joins growing list of key injuries

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Let me preface this by telling you all that as a VCU grad I watched every game of Bradford Burgess’ college career. During that time Burgess earned the nickname “Big Shot” Brad as a freshman and played a full four years at VCU as a key piece for that program. As a junior he was a major part of VCU’s Final 4 run, scoring the game-winning bucket against Florida State in the Sweet 16 (he had 26 points that night), then followed that up his senior season by winning a VCU record 29 games. When it was all said and done, Burgess had not only played, but had been a starter in a record 146 games at VCU. Today I’m reminded just how hard that is to do and just how important it was to VCU’s program to have such a quality player available for all of those games.

Richmond’s Alonzo Nelson-Ododa joins a growing list of key injuries to A-10 teams fighting for postseason appearances. ANO suffered a fractured bone near his right eye Sunday against Rhode Island, as well as a concussion, and will have surgery that will have him out indefinitely.

The Spiders are 12-11 overall and 5-5 in conference play but boast wins over the likes of VCU, Davidson and Saint Bonaventure.

Nelson-Ododoa was the Spiders key defensive presence in the paint, as well as their best rebounder while on the court.

It’s the second consecutive season where Richmond has lost a key contributor halfway through conference play. UofR saw senior leading scorer, Cedrick Lindsay, go down to not one but two knee injuries to shorten his career, crippling the Spiders’ hopes of making it back to the NCAA tournament last season.

Nelson-Ododa joins a growing list of key league injuries.

Preseason No.1 and current AP No.20, VCU, lost reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Briante Weber, to an ACL and MCL tear three games ago for the Rams. VCU was already trying to make due with a banged up Treveon Graham who has missed two games (at Duquesne and at Saint Bonaventure) due to a high ankle sprain.

The Rams dropped the later of those two games, losing Saturday at Saint Bonaventure without either of their senior stars.

Davidson sophomore, Jack Gibbs, leads the conference in offensive rating at an insane 129.7 in his first season of A-10 play but has missed the Wildcats’ last five contests after suffering a slight meniscus tear, coincidentally in a loss against Richmond.

Picked to finish 12th this preseason, the Wildcats were the surprise star of early league play and were 12-3 overall before Gibbs went down in a loss at the Robins Center. They are 3-2 since with two sub-100 losses and are now down not one but two key players, with Gibbs joining starting center, Jake Belford, who hasn’t played since a Dec 3 win against Charlotte.

 

 

 

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About Author

Mat Shelton-Eide has been involved in college athletics since 2007, starting as a co-founder of VCURamNation.com where he covered the Rams all the way to Houston as the one-time CAA darling shocked the hoops world with a historic run to the Final 4. He has worked within two Atlantic 10 athletic departments, first as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department during the '09-'10 basketball season, then after receiving his M.Ed. from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership, as a ticketing and marketing intern in the University of Richmond's athletic department during the inaugural season of Richmond's Robins Stadium, months before the Spiders 2011 Sweet 16 run.

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