By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo men's basketball team has been challenged so far in trying to replace four of its top six players from last season. Now, the Bulls could be without one of their two remaining cornerstones for the rest of this season.
Junior point guard Jarod Oldham will undergo a second surgery on his injured wrist next Monday and his recovery time is being forecasted at eight to 10 weeks, UB coach Reggie Witherspoon said Tuesday. Oldham was initially hurt during practice on Saturday.
"It's a very, very tough break for Jarod and a very tough break for the team," Witherspoon said. "Jarod started every game for us last year and led the conference in assists. We've been trying to figure out ways to replace (graduated seniors) Mitch (Watt), Titus (Robinson), Zach (Filzen) and Dave (Barnett). Now we also have to figure out how to replace Jarod."
Oldham was averaging 10.1 points, 4.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the Bulls (4-7) this season. He played 83 percent of the available minutes, which is the highest on the team and fourth-highest in the Mid-American Conference, according to kenpom.com.
Freshman Jarryn Skeete is the lead candidate to replace Oldham as UB's staring point guard. Skeete entered the starting lineup three games ago as a shooting guard. He's averaged just 4.0 points and 1.3 assists in 18.7 minutes during those games, but the Bulls offense has performed better since Skeete replaced junior Corey Raley-Ross in the rotation.
The Bulls will also now lean heavily on their lone scholarship senior, Tony Watson, who has been an efficient scorer off the bench so far this year, but was recruited as a point guard. Raley-Ross and walk-on Richie Sebuharara will also need to play more. Witherspoon said he hasn't yet determined who will take Oldham's spot in the starting lineup.
"We've tossed around a lot of things," Witherspoon said. "We love having Tony coming off the bench. I see Jarryn and Tony playing a lot together, but we can't ask Jarryn to play 40 minutes. Tony is going to have to be a combo-guard in the truest sense of the word."
Freshman guard Stan Weir, an East Aurora native, still has not begun practicing after offseason knee surgeries, but Witherspoon did not rule out the possibility that he could join the rotation later this season if the Bulls need him.
UB will travel to Seattle today and spend two days practicing in the Pacific time zone to get ready for Friday night's game against Washington State at Key Arena.