When Are These College Players Returning to the Court?

We look at a dozen players who will return to the court this season after missing significant time, and 12 more that are at least out for the start of the season this year.

Welcome Back!

Keyontae Johnson, 6-5, 230, SG, Sr., Kansas State – Johnson averaged 14 points per game as a sophomore at Florida and played four games in 2020 prior to collapsing on the court during a medical emergency. Johnson’s heart issue kept him out all of last season, and he was cleared to play this year at Kansas State.

Javonte Perkins, 6-6, 205, SG, Sr., Saint Louis – Perkins led the Billikens in scoring two seasons ago at 17.1 points per game, but missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in an exhibition game. Perkins’ return gives Travis Ford even more offensive firepower on a team that won 23 games and averaged 76.2 points per game last year.

Marcus Sasser, 6-2, 195, SG, Sr., Houston – Sasser led the Cougars in scoring for the first 12 games at 17.7 points per contest before missing the rest of the season with a left foot injury. Sasser flirted with leaving early for the NBA, but decided to return to school, giving Kelvin Sampson one of the best guards in the country.

Justice Sueing, 6-6, 210, G/F, RS Sr., Ohio State – He only played two games all season due to an abdominal injury, but Sueing would have been huge for a team with EJ Liddell and Malaki Branham. If he is healthy, Sueing gives Chris Holtmann a versatile wing with experience who can fill the stat sheet.

CJ Fredrick, 6-3, 195, SG, RS Sr., Kentucky – From three, Fredrick shot 46 percent as a freshman and 47 percent as a sophomore at Iowa, but missed all of last season (his first at Kentucky) due to a hamstring injury. Fredrick’s key contribution will be his ability to space the court because he’s already proven himself as an elite shooter.

Khalif Battle, 6-5, 175, G, Soph., Temple – Battle fractured the fifth metatarsal of his left foot in early December last year and missed the rest of the season. He was leading the AAC in scoring at the time, averaging 21.4 points while shooting 49 percent from 3 in the first seven games. The hope is Battle picks up where he left off prior to the injury.

Manny Bates, 6-11, 240, C, Grad, Butler – Bates put up 9.8 points, 5.9 boards and 2.7 blocks in 2020-21 at NC State, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first minute of the season opener last year. He transferred to Butler in the offseason and should be a huge part of Thad Matta’s team.

LJ Cryer, 6-1, 190, SG, Jr., Baylor – The Katy native came off the bench as a freshman and then averaged 13.5 points per game last season, leading the team in scoring eight games. Cryer wasn’t healthy for much of the year and had offseason foot surgery, but he showed how effective he could be when healthy, leading the Big 12 in 3-point percentage at 47 percent.

Tramon Mark, 6-6, 195, G, Jr., Houston – Mark was supposed to be one of the team’s top scorers, but only played seven games before shutting it down in mid-December due to a shoulder injury. He’ll definitely bolster the offense for the Cougars.

Adam Miller, 6-3, 190, SG, RS Soph., LSU – Miller started as a freshman at Illinois and averaged 8.3 points per contest, but decided to transfer to LSU, missing his entire sophomore season following an ACL injury in mid-October.

Langston Love, 6-5, 210, SG, RS Fr., Baylor – Love missed his entire freshman season after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason. The Texas native should figure into the rotation this year in Waco.

Nimari Burnett, 6-4, 190, G, Soph., Alabama – The former five-star recruit played just a dozen games at Texas Tech before transferring out of the program. Burnett suffered a right knee injury prior to last season and missed the entire season, but he should help the Crimson Tide this year.

Hoping for a Quick Recovery

Isaiah Stevens, 6-0, 175, PG, Sr., Colorado State – Niko Medved’s best player — and one of the best point guards in the country — suffered a foot injury that will keep him out for the non-conference slate. Stevens averaged 14.7 points and 4.7 assists as a first-team All-Mountain West guy a year ago.

Justin Moore, 6-4, 215, G, Sr., Villanova – Moore averaged 14.8 points per game last season, but ruptured his Achilles late in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight game. The hope is that Moore comes back sometime in January, but it could be February before he takes the court again. If Moore is healthy, he’s one of the best guards in the country.

Jahvon Quinerly, 6-1, 175, PG, Sr., Alabama – The veteran point guard tore his ACL in the first-round loss to Notre Dame, and now the target is for him to return sometime in mid-to-late December. The question is what role will he fill once he comes back.

Fardaws Aimaq, 6-11, 245, C, Sr., Texas Tech – The Utah Valley transfer averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 boards in the WAC last season, and is expected to be a huge part of Mark Adams’ team this season in Lubbock. However, a broken foot will keep him out for a large portion of the season.

Dariq Whitehead, 6-7, 220, F, Fr., Duke – The heralded frosh had surgery on Aug. 30 to repair a fracture in his right foot, and his status is up in the air for the start of the season. It’s tough for a freshman to miss extended time leading up to the season, so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly Whitehead gets up to speed.

Vincent Iwuchukwu, 7-1, 235, PF, Fr., USC – The highly-rated freshman had a heart scare in the summer, and his status is uncertain for this season.

PJ Hall, 6-10, 240, C, Jr., Clemson – Hall had surgery on his right knee, and the hope is that the Tigers’ best player will be back in November. Hall averaged 15.5 points per game last season, and he was already coming off foot surgery.

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, 6-8, 250, F, RS Sr., Baylor – JTT had surgery on Feb. 13 to repair multiple ligaments in his knee and could miss the entire season. He brings toughness, energy and defense, so it’ll be interesting to see how Baylor makes up for his absence.

Jaden Akins, 6-4, 190, SG, Soph., Michigan State – Akins had foot surgery late in the summer, but is expected back for the start of the season. Tom Izzo has high hopes for Akins becoming one his top players this year after averaging 3.4 points in 14.8 minutes as a freshman.

Luke Goode, 6-7, 210, F, Soph., Illinois – He played sparingly last season as a freshman, but was slated to have a bigger role this year because of his ability to make shots from the perimeter. Goode broke his foot in a preseason scrimmage and will be out for the non-conference slate.

Myles Rice, 6-2, 175, PG, RS Fr., Washington State – In September, Rice revealed he’s been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He redshirted last season, and Kyle Smith was expecting him to be a valuable contributor this year.

Dishon Jackson, 6-10, 250, C, Jr., Washington State – Jackson announced he will be out indefinitely due to an unspecified medical issue. Jackson started six games last season, and averaged 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in the NIT.

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