Taking the college basketball world by storm through his first five games at Vanderbilt, Darius Garland quickly became one of the nation’s most exciting prospects. However, Garland would suffer an injury and subsequently pulled himself out of the remainder of the season in order to get healthy and prepare for the NBA Draft.
Given Garland’s abrupt exit and status as a consensus top 10 pick, it begs the question of what exactly happened to the Vanderbilt star?
Darius Garland Injury Update: What Happened to Top Draft Prospect?
Garland left a game on Friday, November 23rd against Kent State with a knee injury after going up for a layup in the fourth quarter – four days later word came out that he had undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus and that he would be out the rest of the season. Despite tearing his meniscus, Garland’s draft stock didn’t take much of a hit as he was thankfully able to avoid any damage to major ligaments in the knee – giving NBA executives some peace of mind that he wouldn’t lose his explosive ability to stop and start on a dime.
Garland has sat out most of the pre-draft festivities and is rumored to have a promise in hand from a team picking in the lottery. While there was a seismic shift with the Lakers trading the fourth pick in the NBA Draft to the Pelicans, he should still comfortably find himself going off the board as one of the first five players.
Darius Garland Vanderbilt Stats
Despite only playing in five games (really four games as he only played two minutes in his injury game vs. Kent State), Garland put up some impressive numbers in his small sample size. Garland shot 53.7% from the field and a scorching 47.8% from deep for the Commodores on 10.8 and 4.6 shots per game respectively. Scoring 16.2 points per game to go with 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists, Garland effectively lead Vanderbilt to four straight wins to start off the season.
Unfortunately, when Garland went down the Commodores struggled mightily and would go on to win just five more games the rest of the year. Built around Garland’s unique shooting ability, it makes his run all that more impressive when you factor in just how bad the team played in his absence.
Even in his worst game of the year against Alcorn State – where he only scored three points – garland posted high marks in assists and rebounds and helped lead the Commodores to a victory. This shows that despite his lackluster rebound and assist numbers, Garland’s mere presence has a major impact on the team as a whole. Able to step up and contribute as opposed to withering away when his shot goes quiet (shout out Andrew Wiggins), Garland looks to be a very useful player in the NBA as a shot creator and facilitator.