DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake’s leading scorer ShanQuan “Tank” Hemphill will be out for four weeks after undergoing surgery on Thursday.
Hemphill suffered a foot fracture in the second half of Drake’s 80-59 win over Northern Iowa on Wednesday. He will be cleared to resume activity in two weeks and could return to competition in four weeks.
Hemphill, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, averages 14.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds. Hemphill transferred to Drake after two seasons at Green Bay and has helped lead the Bulldogs to a 19-1 record this season.
“Tank was a big piece of what we were doing to this point this year. He was one of our best defenders … and then offensively he was so dynamic. He was our leading scorer,” Drake coach Darian DeVries said. “It’s hard to just replace him with one guy. It’s going to be a collective effort from our guys, everybody doing just a little bit more and then some other guys getting some opportunities to play more minutes.”
Barring a faster than expected recovery, the timing of Hemphill’s injury means he will miss the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, which is scheduled March 4-7. DeVries said there is a chance Hemphill will be ready to return for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament if the Bulldogs qualify. The NCAA tournament starts on March 18.
Drake has a tough series against No. 22 Loyola this weekend at the Knapp Center. The Ramblers are on a ten-game winning streak and sit atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings with the Bulldogs one game back. Saturday’s game tips off at 11 a.m. and Sunday’s game starts at 2 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN2.
An already difficult matchup for Drake is now even tougher without Hemphill, but DeVries expects the Bulldogs to step up.
“Any time you have a guy go down … it’s just an opportunity for other guys and this time is no different. We expect to go out and play well this weekend. It may look a little different without Tank, but we’re still trying to get to the same outcome,” DeVries said.