Well, this sucks.
Breaking news from McDonough cast a shadow over an otherwise lovely weekend in the District, as we learned Saturday that transfer forward Akoy Agau will miss all of the upcoming season with a torn ACL.
Before we get into the details, I'd like to encourage everyone to take a few deep breaths. Mercifully, it's been awhile since this program has had to deal with the phrase "season-ending knee injury," and for many sports fans, it understandably conjures images of lost seasons. This is not the situation today. The team is talented, deep and prepared to play without Agau, having already known the former Cardinal would remain ineligible until the second semester.
This could and should still be an excellent season.
That said...dammit, this does suck. Agau was almost certainly going to be a piece of the rotation once eligible, and a valuable one at that. He plays much bigger than his 6-foot-8 frame, and he displayed excellent instincts on the defensive end in summer play. The Hoyas are undeniably talented this year, but they also undeniably lost a lot on the defense and rebounding fronts with the graduation of Mikael Hopkins, Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen. For all the exciting plays that Isaac Copeland and LJ Peak provided last year, tough boards and quick defensive rotations were not generally among them. Agau, while not a proven lockdown defender, appeared to have the tools and instincts to fill some of those gaps.
It's unclear how exactly Agau would've got into the rotation given JTIII's glut of talent at the 4, but his set of skills is one that we don't necessarily have elsewhere. Even if he couldn't quite replace what we lost defensively, his presence would have been crucial in an unproven frontcourt rotation and would have allowed players like Copeland and Paul White to play primarily on the perimeter, where they're much more effective. With Agau's injury, it becomes a virtual certainty that Georgetown will rely on two freshmen (Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson) and a longtime benchwarmer (Bradley Hayes) for heavy minutes in the post.
We'll wait for further details before speculating too much on Agau's long-term prognosis, but an ACL tear usually entails a full six months of rehab before returning to full contact play, with most teams opting to add a few months on top of that to help the injured player get in game shape, regain confidence and further strengthen the leg. One of Agau's more impressive traits in Kenner league play was his mobility -- he hedged and recovered effectively on pick and rolls, and moved well without the ball on offense -- so it's obviously frustrating to see an injury like this. With an effective rehab regimen, though, he should be able to regain most or all of his former speed.
I'm not exactly an expert on NCAA rules, but I would assume this has no effect on Agau's eligibility once healthy. What I'm wondering about (perhaps Casual or someone from the comment section could chip in) is how his eligibility would look if it began at the start of next season rather than in the spring. Would we have to sit Agau next fall, even if totally healthy, for him to be eligible to play his full senior year? Or does he have a theoretical full two years left and only had to sit out this fall to meet transfer requirements?
In any case, this is not fun. It's not a season-ender for the Hoyas, but it's going to make what was already a precarious frontcourt situation that much more uncertain. On a personal level, I hope everyone can at the least send some good thoughts Agau's way -- tearing an ACL is easily one of the most frustrating things that can happen to an athlete, especially one who has already waited months to get back on the court. Good luck to him, and here's hoping we get to see him in a Georgetown jersey as soon as next season tips off.