Midway through the first half in Manhattan’s 70-64 loss to Siena at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY Michael Alvarado collided with O.D. Anosike. According to tweets from reports who were at the game Steve Masiello said in the postgame that Alvarado was elbowed and suffered a concussion and possibly a fracture of his eye-socket bone. That sounds like a long-term injury and certainly is going to have a big impact on the Jaspers moving forward.
Here’s video of the play courtesy of the Siena Saints Blog, which I highly recommend you check out.
Manhattan is now 18-10 and 11-5 in the MAAC. The Jaspers are probably going to hold onto the fourth seed, which could set up a potential match up with Iona in the conference semifinals. But all that is getting ahead of ourselves because of the current roster situation.
Alvarado is the second leading scorer on the Jaspers. Manhattan relies on his ability to drive to the basket in order to make plays. That’s why his free throw rate is so strong. He’s also shooting a respectable 39% from three, one of the best marks on the team. His offensive rating right now sits right at 100. Also, Alvarado’s man-to-man defense is a key to the Jaspers’ press. He’s one of the top players in the nation according to steal rate.
Unfortunately concussions are a tricky thing. You never know when a player is going to be ready to return or how he’ll react when healthy. Pay attention to the news as we get more information about the extent of the injury. If it’s a long-term situation then Kidani Brutus and Mohamed Koita are going to play even more minutes in the Manhattan backcourt. Brutus played 32 minutes, about six more than his season average, and Koita played 15, five more than his season average, against Siena. Brutus will have to cut down on turnovers, but his three-point shooting should be a valuable asset. Against the Saints he shot 3-7 from long distance. Koita has really struggled offensively this season. He’s a strong defensive presence, but with a 79.0 offensive rating he’s basically a black hole at that end of the court.
The defensive end though is where Manhattan got burned by Alvarado being out against the Saints. Freshman Evan Hymes went off for 21 points, including 5-8 three-point shooting, and seven assists in 40 minutes. The worry is that players like Scott Machado, Dylon Cormier and Derek Needham would be able to take even more advantage of such a situation.
If Alvarado has to miss any extended amount of time it’ll be a big blow for the Jaspers. Their depth will certainly be tested and they finish up against UNC Wilmington, Canisius and Loyola (MD) in the Bronx over the next few weeks.