The Maryland women's basketball team officially announced Friday that freshman forward A'Lexus Harrision will medically redshirt this season, confirming what many observers of the squad had suspected for several weeks. After appearing in the Terps' two exhibition games -- scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in twelve minutes against Catholic and pulling down 7 rebounds in just 6 minutes of action against Holy Family -- the Digital Harbor graduate was sidelined before the start of the season. It's a bizarre case, as Harrison wasn't injured -- she had an appendectomy.
The Terps do have enough depth this season that they can easily absorb the prospect of having a player sit out. Coming out of high school, ESPN's HoopGurlz gave Harrison four stars, placed her nineteenth at her position and rated her as the seventieth best player in the country. As a senior she averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds per game while helping Digital Harbor capture the Baltimore City Division I title. The versatility in her game - she scored 1,465 points to go along with 1,300 rebounds, 565 assists and over 200 blocked shots - makes her a typical Brenda Frese wing player.
"We have had numerous conversations with A'Lexus and put a lot of thought into this," coach Frese said. "We feel the best decision for her is to redshirt this season. It provides her an advantage as she can practice and get ahead as she prepares for next season."
Coming into the season Frese described her as having "athletic gifts that few other young women possess." The six foot forward put her athleticism on display in the two exhibition games. However, to my eyes she looked to be a bit of a raw talent whose game required some polish and development. Based on my observations from those games and coupled with the performances I've seen thus far, I don't know how much playing time Harrison would have earned. The situation was likely exacerbated due to missed practice time so I can't disagree with Coach's assessment.
The Terps will be back in action Saturday December 28 at noon when they host the Wofford Terriers and again on Sunday the twenty-ninth when they will take on the winner of the game between Howard and the College of Charleston.