BY DAVID DRIVER
Former Jeffersonville High School basketball standout Evan Maschmeyer showed flashes of promise as a freshman last season at NCAA Division I Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia in limited playing time.
He started one game, played a season-high 14 minutes against Xavier, a traditional contender in the Atlantic 10 Conference, had three points in his college debut against Western Kentucky and played seven minutes with one point against Penn State.
But his sophomore season was derailed even before it began.
In a five-on-five drill on the eve of the Hawks’ first exhibition game in early November, the 6-foot-3 guard fractured his right hand when it was hit by a teammate. He has not played in a game and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
“This is a little setback,” said Maschmeyer, sitting behind the team bench prior to a game here at Coppin State on Dec. 4. “I was going for a rebound and the other guy came down on my hand.”
At first, the Jeffersonville resident thought it was just a stinger. But an X-ray showed he had broken the third metacarpal bone in his right shooting hand.
He wore a splint full-time until Dec. 3, but still sleeps with the splint so he does not bump the hand at night. He hopes to be back with the team later this month or early January.
“I know it is going to be difficult. It is one thing to come back. It is another to come back and play well. I have been running two or three miles a day or every other day to keep my legs fresh,” he said.
Maschmeyer is no stranger to injuries.
“My senior year of high school I missed some time with an ankle injury,” said Maschmeyer, who averaged 15.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.7 during his senior campaign. “It kind of nagged me through the season.”
But this injury could sideline him for a long stretch even though he began shooting drills on Dec. 3.
Would he consider redshirting this season?
“I have not talked to coach about that. We don’t know the extent of how long it will take,” he said.
Maschmeyer still attends practice every day and is with the team for home and away games.
“I try to be vocal with the guys,” said Maschmeyer, who has helped out at basketball camps in the summer.
He did not go with the team to Baltimore on Dec. 3 before the Hawks faced Coppin State the next day. Instead he made the drive from Philadelphia with a member of the school’s athletic department after he had to take a test earlier on Dec. 4.
The Indiana product is right-handed so he said taking notes in class has been a challenge. But sometimes he will ask a friend to help him with that.
The Hawks went 20-14 a year ago, including a 9-7 mark in the A-10. They were edged 71-68 by eventual Atlantic 10 tournament champion St. Bonaventure in the conference tournament then 67-65 in the opening round of the NIT.
So what did he think of his freshman season?
“You always want to play more. You always want to help the team more. But we still had a good year,” he said.
The Hawks are considered one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 and improved to 5-2 with a 67-55 nonconference win on Dec. 4 against Coppin State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It was the 550th game in the 18-year coaching career of Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph’s.
“We came here to win a basketball game and improve,” Martelli said after the win against a team picked to finish 10th out of 13 teams in the MEAC.
The Hawks, who were picked by the A-10 coaches as the preseason league favorites, had four players score in double figures after they had lost three days earlier against nationally-ranked Creighton.
“Creighton, of course, was a tough environment to play in. Coming in here, we didn’t pay attention to anything outside our team,” said Chris Wilson, who came off the bench to score 10 points for the Hawks at Coppin State. “We just wanted to bounce back. We had a terrible taste in our mouth” after losing at Creighton.’’
Saint Joseph’s will return to action tonight against Philadelphia Big 5 rival Villanova out of the Big East.
When Maschmeyer returns is another story.
Note: David Driver is a freelance writer who has covered the Atlantic 10 Conference for several years. He can be reached at www.davidsdriver.com.