Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach Shantay Legans can finally empathize with anyone who’s torn their Achilles tendon.
Legans, 37, suffered the same malady two weeks ago.
He’s been hopping around in a boot since.
“Man, I feel sorry for anyone who’s had this injury,” said Legans, who hurt himself while demonstrating a drill to a player. “I use to say, ‘Oh, whatever, you’ll be fine,’ to other guys, but no, it’s pretty painful.”
Legans, a former Southern California high school star who went on to be the starting point guard at California and Fresno State, said he’d never suffered a major injury.
While showing sophomore guard Austin Fadal how to close out on defense in a spring workout, Legans attempted to jump out like he did in early 20s, but the swift movement and pressure were too much.
Legans said he knew immediately that his Achilles was torn, continuing the trend of EWU’s injury-riddled 2018-2019.
Legans lost All-Big Sky Conference guard Jacob Davison the final three weeks of the season with an ankle injury, but the Eagles still reached the Big Sky Conference Tournament title game for the second straight year.
The Eagles were also without the services of guards Luka Vulikic (shoulder) and BYU transfer Steven Beo (knee), who was expected to be a major contributor.
Mason Peatling, an All-Big Sky forward, missed nearly all of nonconference play last season with a leg injury. Four other players missed at least one game because of injury.
Legans said a big reason for EWU’s 1-9 start last season was the lack of experienced bodies because of the slew of injuries.
“We’ve definitely been hit with the injury bug,” Legans said. “Then I go out and get hurt right at the start of the summer. I’ve been looking forward to being outside and doing things, but now I got to hop around.”
Davison suggested that Legans use a device called the iWalk, a combination of a boot and handless crutch.
“Hopefully, I can walk on my own by the end of August,” Legans said.
Vulikic opts to go pro
Vulikic, a 6-foot-7 guard who started 44 career games at EWU, will forgo his final two years of eligibility to play professionally in his home country of Serbia, Legans said.
He had career averages of 4.3 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Vulikic considered transferring from EWU before deciding to play profesionally in Serbia like his younger brother Vuk Vulikic, who was a member of the country’s U18 national team.
EWU women finalize recruiting class
EWU coach Wendy Schuller rounded out her 2019 recruiting class with the signing of North Dakota prep star Gabby Jung.
Jung, a 5-10 guard from Dickinson High, averaged 19 points and 2.5 assists in the state’s largest classification, earning All-West Region and All-North Dakota honors.
“Gabby is a dynamic athlete as evidenced by her recent state championship in the high jump (5-4),” Schuller said. “She has a great feel for the game and will help us in many aspects.”
She joins a recruiting class that includes guard Jenna Dick of Langley, British Columbia; forward Kennedy Dickie of Kelowna, British Columbia; and forward Alexyss Newman of Goodyear, Arizona.
EWU, which returns four starters, advanced to the Big Sky Conference Tournament title game last season.
Easley transfers to CSUB
Andie Easley, a reserve guard for the EWU women last season, transferred to Cal State Bakersfield.
The 5-11 point guard battled injuries at EWU the past three seasons after transferring from Hawaii.
She averaged four points and 13 minutes last season and scored 14 points against Montana.
Cal State Bakersfield was 14-17 last season and 9-7 in the Western Athletic Conference.
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