Mississippi State’s hopes for an NCAA tournament berth took a huge hit as potential star Freshman DeAndre Applewhite tore his ACL and meniscus in practice on Friday, leading to his absence for the entire season.
Applewhite was set to be a freshmen star with all the talent and ability that is required to perform in the SEC before the injury. The Bulldogs lost a lot of players to the draft and graduation and needed some young talent to step forward to take hold of this team in a year that is destined to be about rebuilding. Mississippi State had high hopes for this player in his first season, but the injury cut it short.
Applewhite helped lead his high school team, Memphis Central, to a second place finish in the TSSAA Class AAA state championship last year – no easy feat. Because the AAA division contains a majority of Memphis high schools (Memphis being an immense talent pool for basketball stars), he was recruited and expected to play his Freshman season and be able to compete in the SEC. He was expected to make an immediate impact for this Mississippi State team that sorely needed him in order to make an NCAA tournament run, but will now have to look to the future instead.
Applewhite will return next year to take on the SEC, but this lost year of experience has to be a crushing loss to himself and the loss of depth has to be crushing for the Mississippi State team as a whole.