The Loss of Larry Wilkins
|Wilkins scores an easy basket against future WAC opponents, SJSU in a 72-63 victorious effort. Photo courtesy of mysa.com|
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Larry Wilkins is in all likelihood out for the season. I’ve heard that Larry ruptured his Achilles tendon during an early season workout on Saturday. Wilkins had surgery today and is expected to be granted a medical redshirt in order to return for his senior year in 2012. Achilles tendon injuries most often take several months to recover from, and have even been known to end some athletes’ careers in extreme cases. Needless to say, this is a huge loss for Brooks Thompson’s promising 2011 squad. Wilkins averaged 3.6 ppg and 3.7 rpg while shooting at a 60.2% clip. While his statistics are not overtly impressive, Wilkins’ greatest impact is a physical one, as he is able to use his bulky frame to work posts out of the lane and prevent offensive rebounds from the opposition. Wilkins also brings a strong sense of hustle to the court and provides a vocal, veteran presence to a young Roadrunner team. Larry had an excellent string of games at the end of the season and seemed to be developing into one of Thompson’s more dependable options on the court.
Coupled with the departure of TJ Williams from the program, the loss of Wilkins is particularly painful. After deciding to pass on recruiting more big bodies this recruiting cycle, Brooks Thompson is left with just Alex Vouyoukas and Michael White (Non-Scholarship) to fill the Center slot in 2011. Vouyoukas, who looks the part of a dominative mid-major center at 6’9, 235lbs, originally started the 2010 season at center, however a lack of physicality and offensive prowess forced Thompson to insert the under-sized Wilkins as his starting #5 for the remainder of the season. Vouyoukas certainly has the capacity to play at a much higher level than he has shown throughout his tenure at UTSA. At certain points down the stretch of the season Vouyoukas looked like the Greek incarnation of Hakeem Olajuwon, only to be subbed out within minutes after sitting out a play or carelessly handing away a turnover. Vouyoukas seemed to have matured during the Southland Conference tournament , most memorably during the Sam Houston St. game, where Alex racked up 7 points, 4 boards, and a block in just 12 minutes… all while locking done of the Southland Conference’s most prolific players in Gilberto Clavell. If Vouyoukas can manage to build on these flashes of brilliance (and Brooks Thompson is on the hot seat here) then the Runners should be able to continue building on last season’s success.
Some sleuthing from Darrell Williams at utsafootball.wordpress.com shows us that four players from UTSA’s 2010 fall squad will not be returning for 2011. No big losses here, several guys probably saw the writing on the wall that they would have been lucky to be third string once the second recruiting class reports on Sunday. I must admit, I’m a bit surprised that Robert Chapman is leaving the program. Chapman was one of UTSA’s first signees and played his high school ball in the shadow of campus at Clark High School. So much for all this. Best of luck to Robert in pursuing a walk-on position at TAMU. David Farris leaving for Texas State stings, but I would have done the same considering he was not offered a scholarship after his impressive fall performance.
Coach Coker got some love from USA Today this afternoon.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you that have been following our posts religiously and leaving us loving comments. You’re all true sweethearts.
32 days ’till kick off.
A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter