How Does Glenn Sanabria’s Season Ending Injury Affect St. Francis Brooklyn?

It’s been a relatively tough season within the NEC on the injury front, and St. Francis Brooklyn is the latest program to feel that pain.

Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance broke the news that Glenn Sanabria will have surgery on a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, ending his 2015-16 campaign immediately. With only six games played for the season, St. Francis should be able to red-shirt him, preserving a year of eligibility. In the short-term, however, the defending NEC regular season champions must forge on without a backcourt player they were counting on.

In the small (and ultimately inconclusive) sample size that was his sophomore season, Sanabria’s possession rate as the starting “1” predictably went up, whereas his efficiency headed in the opposite direction. The 5’11 guard converted just 13 of 46 shot attempts, although to be fair, it was against tough competition and he had been playing hurt ever since the Saint Louis game. It’s safe to assume his shooting percentages would have improved during league play. At the very least, Sanabria was protecting the basketball and getting his teammates involved, as evident from his 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The overall value Sanabria brought to the team also extended beyond the advanced statistics, as his toughness and cool demeanor under pressure gave Braica a player he could inevitably count on through the ups and downs. Now, all the St. Peter’s High product can do is become the best cheerleader he can be from the bench.

The time is now for junior guard Yunus Hopkinson to step up after Sanabria's injury. (Photo credit: Paul J. Bereswill, NY Post)

The time is now for junior guard Yunus Hopkinson to step up after Sanabria’s injury. (Photo credit: Paul J. Bereswill, NY Post)

As the lone true point guard remaining on the Terriers roster, Yunus Hopkinson should see a majority of the minutes as Braica’s ball facilitator. At first, his insertion into the rotation gave St. Francis a player capable of hitting 3s with consistency. The junior had a three-game run – easily the best shooting streak of his collegiate career – where he impressively sank nine of his 15 treys. The rest of team meanwhile could only muster a mediocre three-point percentage of 24.0% over the same time span.

Now, Hopkinson, who has since predictably cooled off as a perimeter threat, must fully embrace a role based solely on running the offense. So far so good for the New York City native – his 11 assists against a lone turnover in last week’s loss to NJIT was a nice start, but can he keep it up?

On the surface, not much should change on either end of the floor with Sanabria’s spot going to Hopkinson. Rather, it’s the Terriers’ precariously thin backcourt depth that should keep Braica tossing and turning at night. It’s assumed Icelandic freshman Dagur Jonsson would take over the backup point guard duties, despite his comfort as an off-the-ball guard. In fact, power forward Chris Hooper could be considered the next best passer on the team after Hopkinson, illustrating the lack of true passers currently on this roster.

In other words, there’s little room for error with the omission of the team’s best passer and someone who was capable of making perimeter shots in Sanabria. For now, the established veterans of the program, namely Amdy Fall, Tyreek Jewell and Hooper, will have a greater burden placed on them moving forward, while the unproven shooters like Jewell, Jonsson, Jon Doss and Hopkinson (a career 21.9% 3-point shooter even with the hot start to this season) will need to step up and keep defenders honest.

With good health though, the Terriers’ conference projection shouldn’t change all that much as a team hovering near the middle of the pack. Anywhere between fifth to seventh place in the NEC regular season sounds about right for a program trying to partially rebuild after losing Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones from a championship roster. That effort just got a little harder for Braica without his starting floor general.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride

2 thoughts on “How Does Glenn Sanabria’s Season Ending Injury Affect St. Francis Brooklyn?

  1. Dan From Staten Island

    No doubt about it — Glenn Sanabria’s injury really hurts the Terriers.

    But, unless I’m wrong about this, wasn’t Dagur Jonsson a point guard for one of the premier clubs in the Icelandic League for two years prior to coming to St. Francis Brooklyn this year? In fact, think that he was rated one of the top players in Iceland while playing that position and appears to be a bit more seasoned than your average first year player. He’s shown flashes as a pretty solid passer and facilitator off his limited minutes at the point this year and seems to be very capable of taking over that role if he has to.

    Yunus Hopkinson came to St. Francis with a reputation as a scoring guard and still seems in the process of morphing into a classic “pass-first” point guard. Whenever the Terriers have needed points, he has seemed to be a bit impatient and has had a tendency to pull the trigger with plenty of time left on the clock because he still has that scorer’s mentality. His game against NJIT was a hopeful sign, however, in that Hopkinson concentrated on distributing and racked up 11 assists for his efforts. So, there are definite signs he has the ability to pick up where Sanabria left off.

    Coach Braica has frequently employed the use of two point guards, similar to the Brent Jones-Glenn Sanabria tandem often seen last year. You may see a similar set from time to time this year with Hopkinson and Jonsson on the court together vs their NEC opponents. It has been tough to employ that set against the much larger backcourt players the Terriers have encountered in the early portion of the schedule.

    As far as additional depth at such a key position, both Jon Doss and Keon Williams seem to have had prior experience at bringing the ball up the court and might likely be called upon for a stint at the point if a need arises.

    A couple of years ago, Dre Calloway, a real heady point guard who the Terriers were depending on, suffered a season-ending injury early on and Braica was forced to go to Brent Jones as his replacement. The inexperienced Jones stepped up and eventually developed into a Conference first-teamer. It’s college basketball and the unexpected can, and certainly does, happen. Still think that the Terriers can secure a playoff home game, given the remaining talent throughout the roster.

    Reply
  2. El Mayimbe

    Hey Dan,

    You seem very knowledgeable about the St. Francis Terriers program. I am an alum and I also edit Wikipedia extensively, under the same user name “El Mayimbe.” You can go to the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers men’s basketball page on wiki where I have written as complete a history as I could given what on the internet. None the less, I have a ton of questions about the history of the program. Wondering if you are willing to help?

    Reply

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