Hand injury will not hinder sophomore guard

Hand injury will not hinder sophomore guard

By Tyler Dixon

A ‘floor general’ has the ability to control a basketball game from the court, but sophomore guard Marcus Fillyaw has been that person from the bench the past three weeks.

Fillyaw broke a bone in his left hand during the Salukis 71-67 win over Loyola University Jan. 8, but that has not stopped him from helping his team on a daily basis.

Fillyaw said his hand has improved but it’s still a waiting game.

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“It’s actually feeing a whole lot better, but I guess right now I’m just waiting for it to heal up so it doesn’t get worse,” Fillyaw said. “I guess the doctor said if it gets hit or anything like that, it could damage it completely.”

Fillyaw is optimistic about his return but Coach Barry Hinson is not as confident.

Fillyaw said he would only be out another three or four weeks but Hinson said he fears Fillyaw could be out the rest of the season.

Hinson said Fillyaw had x-rays done a few weeks ago but the hand has not gotten any better.

“Marcus has not progressed, I wish I could give you better news,” Hinson said.

The team has struggled in Fillyaw’s absence, but senior forward Bronson Verhines said Fillyaw still fills that void despite being on the bench.

“Even though he’s been injured on the court, he’s been a vocal leader on the sidelines,” Verhines said.

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Coach Barry Hinson said he needs his team to communicate on the court, not only on defense but offense as well.

“The one thing I liked about Marcus, he was the one guy who talked on the floor,” Hinson said.

Without another true point guard on the roster, someone would have to step up.

Hinson said they even considered playing Fillyaw despite his broken hand.

“We talked about playing him in a cast … seriously we talked about playing him in a cast with one arm,” Hinson said. “That’s how desperate we need another guard and we just don’t feel like we can do that at this time.”

Stepping into the role is sophomore Anthony Beane, who was recently named a Missouri Valley Conference Co-Player of the week with Evansville guard D.J. Balentine. In the past three games, Beane has scored 69 points.

Beane said the team was in shock when they heard Fillyaw was going to be out, but he knew someone would have to step up, he just did not know it would be him.

“Marcus brings a lot to the team because he’s a great leader,” Beane said.

The team had to adapt during Fillyaw’s absence, but Verhines said Beane has played well.

“Anthony’s really kind of stepped into that spot and that’s not his true position, he’s really a shooting guard,” Verhines said. “He’s done a great job.”

Fillyaw has given praise to Beane and the way he has taken over his new role.

Fillyaw said even though he is not on the court, he can still help the team while he is on the bench. He said he could see things now that he did not notice before.

“Things that we could have done better on offense, things that we could have done better on defense,” Fillyaw said. “It’s just all easier to see.”

Fillyaw misses hearing his name during the starting lineup.

“It’s different, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just different,” Fillyaw said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to not start, let alone not play.”

Only time will tell if Fillyaw will get to see the court this season, but he said he has been doing conditioning and working with the trainers so he does not miss a step.

Hinson said he hopes Fillyaw can come back in a miraculous way.

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