Just as 6-foot-10 senior Devin Kirby was making strides in his physical therapy to get back on the basketball court, Chandler Basha’s basketball team was dealt another devastating blow with 6-9 senior Klay Stall recently suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Stall, who has seven offers, went up for a dunk in the San Diego State team camp tournament and came down wrong.
In late December, in the McClintock Holiday Shootout, Kirby landed wrong against Gilbert Perry and suffered two dislocated knees and broken tibia bones. Kirby had offers from Grand Canyon University, Rice, Brown and Dartmouth before then.
“We’ve had two freak plays with our big men,” said coach Mike Grothaus, who is entering his second season as head coach.
Both players were continually getting better before the freak injuries.
They are keeping a good attitude.
Stall, who will wait a bit for surgery, saw his recruitment pick up in the spring with offers from North Dakota, Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara and Northern Arizona to go with his offers last summer and fall from Portland State, San Jose State and Eastern Washington.
He averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds in Basha’s 19-win season. Grothaus said he expected those numbers to be 17 and 14 next season.
Colleges recruiting Stall have said they will still honor the scholarship offers, Grothaus said.
Kirby, meanwhile, is six weeks out from running basketball plays. He has been building up his strength through physical therapy, while working on his ballhandling skills and taking set shots. He has not been cleared to cut or make moves to the basket.
Not long after Kirby’s injury had him in the hospital for a week, he was at Basha’s games, cheering his teammates on from a wheelchair.
“He’s had a great attitude,” Grothaus said about Kirby. “For a young kid suffering an injury like that, it’s really tough. He’s been doing really well, working hard. We’re in constant communication with the PT people and they say he’s working extremely hard. He’s getting there. We’re excited to have him back.”
With Stall out, Basha will lean more on 6-6, 210-pound junior power forward Gabe McGlothan, who picked up a recent offer from GCU while playing well in its elite camp.
“Gabe has a chance to be really good,” Grothaus said. “He’s another kid who is getting better. He’ll be relied heavily upon now to carry the load.”
Basha will be back at it this week in the 9th annual Best in Basketball Summer Invitational at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor High. The tournament runs Thursday through Saturday. Tempe Corona del Sol will be the favorite with junior point guard Alex Barcello back from the NBPA Top 100 in Virginia, teaming up with 6-11 sophomore forward/center Marvin Bagley III.
Corona del Sol won the PrimeTime on Saturday behind tournament MVP Bagley and guards Saben Lee and Tyrell Henderson.