It’s a big recruiting day for Fighting Illini basketball, but terrible news just broke regarding the team that’s already in place for the 2016-17 season. According to a University release, sophomore shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands suffered a broken right hand during a workout on Wednesday. He had surgery on Friday and is expected to miss at least eight weeks.
Unbelievable. Jalen Coleman-Lands broke his hand during a skill workout Wednesday. Sidelined eight weeks... pic.twitter.com/aLNhD5M3ZL— Alex Roux (@aroux94) September 10, 2016
Coleman-Lands was fantastic for Illinois as a true-freshman. The 6-foot-3 Indiana native played in all 34 games — including 24 as a starter — while averaging 10.3 points on 41.2% shooting from the field (42.2% 3PT). Coleman also set Illinois’ program record for three-pointers made by a freshman, totaling 87 from behind the arch.
Regardless of whether or not Coleman is able to return for the start of the season (which begins in two months), this isn’t a great development for John Groce and the Illini. This will be the sophomore's second-straight offseason injury, and though it was only a stress fracture last year, this is a pretty notable impairment to his shooting hand. Assuming there are no set backs during his recovery, it could take time to regain his sharpshooting ability.
Additionally, Kendrick Nunn’s dismissal left a huge scoring void in the backcourt, and Coleman-Lands was a prime candidate to step in and fill that role full-time. Still, the Orange and Blue should be able to get by for a few non-conference games with sophomore Aaron Jordan, who averaged 3.4 points per game last season. I also wouldn't be surprised to see sixth-year point guard Tracy Abrams get some time on the wing.