Must be too many black cats crossing in the path of the Siena men's basketball team, too many ladders gone under, too many mirrors broken.
What else can explain what's going on in Loudonville, N.Y., these days where the only luck the Saints have had this off-season has been of the bad-luck variety?
Early Wednesday afternoon the school disclosed that sophomore point guard Rakeem Brookins, who started the majority of the Saints' games as a freshman and was the team's leading scorer (9.0 per game) among returnees, would miss the entire upcoming season.
Brookins has been out of practice for close to a month with back issues. A recent examination by orthopedic surgeons at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania have diagnosed Brookins with a bulging disk at L3-L4, and a herniated disk at L4-L5. Based on the estimated recovery time for those injuries, it was determined that Brookins would not be able to participate in basketball related activities this season, according to a press release issued by the school.
Brookins will remain home in Philadelphia for the remainder of the fall semester where he continues to undergo physical therapy, and focus on his academic pursuits. No surgery is planned right now. He plans on returning to Siena in January, and taking a full academic course load in the spring semester as he continues his recovery.
"It's obviously disappointing news, but our focus is on Rahk returning to full health and enjoying a successful Siena career on and off the court," head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. "He has the complete support of our coaching staff, his teammates, and all of the great support services available to him as a Siena student athlete."
Brookins' loss means the Saints will be starting a freshman at point guard for the second straight season. Both the 6-2 Davonte Beard and the 5-8 Evan Hymes have been playing the position in practices since Brookins went down. Sources within the program indicated that it would probably Hymes in the starting lineup for the team's Nov. 16 opener against Navy.
Broookins' loss was just the latest setback in an unkind stretch for Siena since the end of last season that started when 6-9 junior Davis Martens, who might have started at forward this season, was loss for the year after August hip surgery.
Then came the double loss of much-hyped 6-8 freshmen forwards Lionel Gomis and Imoh Silas, both natives of Africa, who will sit out this season due to relatively new NCAA legislation that players must compete their high school playing careers within a specific time frame. Both players failed to attend high school for at least a year due to personal situations while in Africa.
And, then, sophomore forward Trenity Burdine, who had some strong efforts as a freshman, has battled foot issues since this past summer and has yet to get on the court.
And, now, Brookins.
Burdine, according to Siena coaches, is expected to begin working out with the team, possibly later this week.
But, for now, Siena is down to eight scholarship players, including four freshmen.