Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sam Cassell, Jr. cleared for action, anxious to get going again

UConn announced that Sam Cassell, Jr. has been cleared for basketball activities on Wednesday, completing his long road back from a stress fracture injury in his right leg back in January.

If it seems like a long time for Cassell to recover, particularly since there was hope in Husky camp that he could return for the postseason in March, remember that doctors told Cassell it would be a 3-6 month recovery.

"I knew it might be a long process," Cassell said late last week. "I was hoping (to return last March), but the doctor was telling me not to rush it. Because at the time, when the AAC tournament was going on, it was healing, but it wasn't all the way healed."

Cassell has been on campus, bonding with his new teammates, working out, trying to get his legs back under him this summer and doing everything except playing in pick-up games. Now, he can.

"I'm anxious," he said. "I've been waiting for a long time to get back out there."

Count me as one who believes Cassell will be a nice help for the Huskies this season. He shot the ball very well in some early games last season (albeit in exhibition games and/or against weaker competition). He's also a guy who averaged 18.4 points per game for a strong Chipola Junior College team the year before.

Obviously, his shot suffered a lot in the weeks before his injury, and he wound up shooting just 27.6 percent from the floor and 26.5 percent from 3-point land. But I wouldn't give up on him yet. Can you envision Cassell as a zone-breaking shooter off the Huskies' bench this season?

The stress fracture may have ultimately been a bit of a blessing in disguise.

“This injury helped me get my confidence back," he explained. "Working out, I see my shot going in much more, so it’s building my confidence back up.”

Still, last year was tough for the junior guard.

“It hurt me. It felt like me in JUCO sitting out all over again. But my health was much more important. Even though I struggled, I know sitting out hurt me even more.”

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March 20, 2016 at 4:05 AM 

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