Evart’s top scorer, rebounder lost for season from injury

EVART — Evart’s boys basketball team will be having a busy week with practices and scrimmages as the 2-0 Wildcats get set to take on the 2014 portion of their schedule.

But they’ll have to do it without one of their best players.

Coach Kris Morgan and his team got the bad news over the break that senior Jacob Hopkins would be undergoing surgery for an anterior cruciate ligament injury and would be lost for the season. He had been the Wildcats’ top scorer and rebounder.

“We have to adjust to that,” Morgan said. “He fell pretty hard. He said he felt his knee go a little sideways.”

Hopkins said he tore his ACL and both medial collateral ligaments in his left leg.

“I think we can adjust a little bit,” Morgan said. “We’re definitely not going to replace his athleticism and his raw ability. We’ll have to move around and compensate a little bit. It definitely changes our game plan.”

The injury occurred in a win Dec. 17 over McBain Northern Michigan Christian. It happened in the first minute of action.

“I just came down after a layup,” Hopkins said. “After halftime, I taped it and came back in and came back down on it wrong and was out for good.”

Hopkins plans on being at all the practices and games, and helping his team out.

“I’ve got an assistant coach,” Morgan smiled.

“They’re still going to be pretty good,” Hopkins said of his team. “Jared (Pattee) is an outstanding player.”

Hopkins was planning on running track for the two-time defending MITCA state championship Evart boys team in the spring but his injury will also keep him out of that. He was third in the Division 4 high jump at 6-3 last spring. He doesn’t figure he’ll be back to normal until the summer.

Hopkins was an all-state football player and still has aspirations of a college career.

“I was hoping to go play football,” he said. “I have a couple of Division III schools looking at me.”

He’ll have surgery in mid-January and will start rehabilitation after that.

The Wildcats had practices scheduled for this week and scrimmages set for Thursday at Crossroads and Friday at home against Morley Stanwood and Baldwin.

The Wildcats had two games postponed for weather reasons in December. They’re set to resume Jan. 6 at home against Manistee.