Monday, December 5, 2011
What Does the Loss Of Kyle Bullinger Mean For Weber State?
In case you missed, Weber State's All-Conference Forward Kyle Bullinger got injured against San Jose State, as he is out with a possible dislocated elbow. (If you are so inclined, watch the video. Be warned, it is graphic and will make you a bit sick, especially if you have a weak stomach).
Word is that Bullinger will miss 3-4 weeks (which again, if you watch the video, seems unreal). Tuesday night's game against BYU will be the first start Bullinger has missed his whole career, and it will be a tough one to absorb. First, let's look at what Bullinger has brought to the table.
He has struggled with his outside shot a bit this year, in part because he has been battling a back injury. His shooting percentages (both 2 and 3 pointers) are way down this year, but I don't expect that trend to continue. What Weber State will miss is his rebounding and toughness. He has a 27.2 DR% on the year, good for 26th in the country. They will miss that a lot.
I have heard that in his place, Frank Otis will move from the 4 to the 3 and play on the wing a bit more, and senior Darin Mahoney will get the start at the 4. Mahoney is probably their best post defender, and they will try to replace Bullinger's toughness with Mahoney's.
However, it will be a strain on their offense. Damian Lillard has already been carrying a heavy load, as teams have been keying on Scott Bamforth ever since he lit up Utah State. Kyle Tresnak has been very solid in the post, but not sure where the rest of the offense is going to come from.
They will need production from Byron Fulton, as he is the man off the bench with the most scoring ability at this point. He has good range, and can get down on the block a little bit (though he has the tendency to settle for the fadeaway). Freshman Mike Brown has been pretty productive in limited minutes, but I am not sure how well he will fare against athletic opponents. Jordan Richardson is a talented guard, but not a big offensive threat. For some more explosiveness, the word is that freshman Gelaun Wheelwright will have his redshirt pulled, but I am not sure that will solve the problem either.
In short, the injury to Bullinger means there will be even more pressure on Damian Lillard. He is a guy that is already very heavily relied on, and there is one less weapon for defenses to have to account for.
We wish Kyle Bullinger a speedy recovery, and he can't come back quick enough for Weber State.
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