Without warning, the No. 5 Oregon Ducks have lost their star Chris Boucher for the remainder of the season. Apparently, Boucher tore his ACL during the first half of the Pac-12 semifinal against Cal on Friday.
An MRI revealed that the Montreal native will require surgery at a later time. Boucher was able to stay on the floor to finish the game. He concluded with 10 points and two blocked shots.
"I just feel really bad for Chris," said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. "He's a wonderful young man and it's really hard for him. It was a big blow to our team this morning."
This may be the most devastating news the Oregon basketball program has ever faced. Not only do they lose Boucher for the stretch run, but his legendary UO career is now over.
“I was really emotional about it because he is a big part of this team,” said Dillon Brooks. “His story is amazing. For that to happen, it’s crazy. Next man has to step up. Kavell, Roman and Keith got to step up.”
For the season, CB was averaging 11.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, alongside being the No. 1 shot-blocker in the Pac-12 with 2.6 BPG. He was the ONLY player in Pac-12 history to record 100 blocked shots and 35 triples in the same season (2016).
He named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team for a second straight season. Boucher earned honorable mention for the All-Pac-12 team.
His 189 career blocks places him places him second in Oregon history. CB broke the school record for blocked shots (110) last season, amid his first year in the program after transferring from Northwest College in Wyoming where he was named the NJCAA Player of the Year.
We have no idea how this will shake-up the Oregon roster, but Kavell Bigby-Williams will be the name on everyones lips moving forward. Like Boucher, KVB was the National Junior College Player of the Year before committing to UO. He must now step forward in a big way for the Ducks.
“Chris is going to be out and we’re just going to stop winning, stop competing?” Brooks stated rhetorically. “No, that’s not it. Chris is going to motivate us to push as far as we can in the tournament.”
Regardless, you are looking at the most versatile player in college basketball not being apart of March. This is an injustice to Boucher’s tireless work ethic and character.
This news is very hard to digest. No. 5 Oregon will now be the underdog heading into their Pac-12 Final rematch with No. 7 Arizona. The interior presence of this team now rests squarely on the broad shoulders of Jordan Bell.
Rest assured, the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year will do all he can to overcome this horrific news. But, this injury changes everything.