UTC's current roster status
Starters // Reserves // Injured
Farad Cobb // Alex Bran // Dontay Hampton
Gee McGhee // Eric Robertson // Casey Jones
Ronrico White // Martynas Bareika // Drew Baker
Zaccheus Mason // Sam Watson // Lance Stokes
Drazen Zlovaric // Jared Bryant
There will be almost as many players sitting in street clothes as those wearing warm-ups on the bench for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball Mocs tonight.
Freshman wing Casey Jones is out indefinitely due to a right knee injury suffered a week ago. It will require further doctor examinations before a complete diagnosis can be determined.
"The status is that it is not an ACL tear, which was feared, but there is some complications down there, and there is a possible fracture of a bone," coach John Shulman said. "To give you a definite answer, I can't. Whether he can come back in a month, two months, three weeks, I don't know.
"It may be season-ending; it may not. I don't know."
Jones is the fourth Moc to miss significant playing time this season due to injury. Senior point guard Dontay Hampton tore his ACL in the summer. Junior forward Drew Baker has undergone several procedures on his knee and has not played. Sophomore forward Lance Stokes broke his foot on Nov. 18 and has not played since.
"I don't understand the injuries," Shulman said. "It was going to be hard enough with all the freshmen. Now you're throwing obstacles on us that shouldn't be thrown at us."
Only five reserves will be available when the Mocs (3-8) face High Point (4-6) tonight at 7 in the first-day nightcap of the 23rd Dr Pepper Classic. Austin Peay (4-8) and Utah (6-8) Valley will start the event in McKenzie Arena at 4:30.
"You have a really good High Point team which, on paper, is probably the best team in the tournament," said Shulman, who noted that the Panthers beat Southern Conference school Appalachian State by 22 points and preseason league favorite UNC Greensboro by 14. "It's a very hungry field. Everybody in the tournament is very hungry. Somebody is going to leave here with two wins and some momentum."
Shulman will adjust to the latest batch of bad news by altering the starting lineup. Sophomore guard Ronrico White -- who played shooting guard last season but has started at the point every game this season -- will move to small forward with surging junior Martynas Bareika as his backup.
"You never want to see a player like Casey go down, but the show must go on," White said. "Marty has to step up, and I have to step up at the 3. Playing point guard you have to know where everybody is, so playing the 3, I know what I need to do -- rebound more and be more aggressive."
Freshman Farad Cobb will start at point guard with walk-on Alex Bran as his reserve in UTC's final three nonconference games, including a game Wednesday at Georgia Tech.
"We have to keep playing through," Bareika said. "We don't have time to feel snake-bit."
Shulman said he'd like to have Hampton -- who is running some dummy offense in practice -- and Stokes back today. But realistically, he's hoping for the middle of January.
"I coach basketball," Shulman said. "I'm not a magician. We'll coach those 10 [healthy players] as hard as we can."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...