Hall adjusting as Flashes fight through injuries


Redshirt junior Jimmy Hall prepares to drive to the rim against the Northern Illinois defender on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 at the M.A.C. Center. The Flashes beat the Huskies 75-74.

Stephen Means

Two weeks ago, the Kent State men’s basketball team (15-8, 6-4 Mid-American Conference) sat atop the MAC, riding a five game winning streak.

The Flashes have done a complete 180 after losing vital players in their backcourt and dropped their last three games, before winning last night.

“Obviously we were a little bit healthier 10 days ago,” Coach Rob Senderoff said. “The mindset’s the same, we still have to come out and perform.”

The losing streak started in Athens, Ohio with a 72-61 loss to Ohio University, but the team also lost senior guard Xavier Pollard to a fractured foot. Freshman guard Jaylin Walker also suffered a foot injury during practice and is out indefinitely.

“Xavier was our leader,” senior center Kaliq Spicer said. “He was a big key because he got us going so that’s something that’s hard to replace.”

Pollard is second on the team in scoring averaging 12.2 points while Walker is average 7.8 points.

For redshirt junior Jimmy Hall, the injuries mean he must provide more opportunities, not for himself, but for his teammates.

Hall’s in a new position in his basketball career. For the first time he’s the team leader. Last season, his first season playing with the Flashes, he was Kent State’s best player.

This year is different. Two of the top four leading scorers are now injured and everything runs through Hall. It has taken time for him to adjust to his newfound role and he’s learning how to balance getting others involved.

“It’s been a time adjusting,” Hall said. “In the early part of the season I was struggling a little bit, but I’m starting to find my way.”

Senderoff referred to Hall as being a “point forward” saying that, for him, it’s about upping his assist totals.

“I think the biggest thing Jimmy has to do is he has to create more opportunities for other guys,” Senderoff said. “He’s played great the last month of the year, but we need to get him getting other guys some shots.”

Kent State has seven games remaining in the regular season, including two games against rival Akron, and currently sit third in the MAC East.

Hall may have to be the catalyst for the Flashes, but it will take a team effort to get the season back on track.

“Other players have to step up,” Hall said.

Stephen Means is the sports editor for The Kent Stater, contact him at [email protected].