Vanderbilt freshman Darius Garland suffered a season-ending knee injury in November.
But that will actually accelerate his ascension toward the NBA.
Garland still looks like a lottery pick. This draft is top-heavy, and a player as skilled as him likely won’t fall far.
The 6-foot-3 point guard is an excellent shooter. He also has the ball-handling, footwork and quick release to get his shot off against most defenses. He looks like he could become a prototypical lead guard in the modern NBA, a scorer who distributes enough.
Still, his torn meniscus hurts. Not only will teams want to know the status of his knee, he’s missing valuable developmental time during the college season. Garland still needs to refine his court vision, and it’d be nice if he clamped down defensively.
It was clear well before Garland enrolled at Vanderbilt he was on the one-and-done track. His injury allows him to drop the pretense of college basketball being a priority.