Notre Dame recruit Eric Katenda, ESPNU's No. 27-ranked power forward in the 2011 class, has reportedly suffered a freak eye injury on the court that puts his career in doubt before he was able to enroll in school.
According to the South Bend Tribune, Katenda has yet to be cleared by the NCAA and is now dealing with a loss of vision in his left eye that currently cannot be repaired.
Unable to attend summer school with the rest of his Irish teammates after the NCAA Clearinghouse questioned a course on his high school transcript, Katenda was playing a game of basketball "21" last month in Washington, where he lives with his mentor. Having grabbed a rebound, Katenda soon felt the finger of another player who was going for the ball poke him in the eye.
"I knew it was bad when it happened," Katenda said. "It was just a freak accident."
The force of the player's finger severed Katenda's optic nerve.
"Right now, I have no vision in my eye," Katenda said. "The doctors have told me that they can't do anything to fix that."
Notre Dame, which followed Stetson in identifying Katenda's talent and offering him as a junior, could have definitely used him following the decision of forward Carleton Scott to turn pro.
But Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey is currently more concerned about Katenda's well-being and has told him his scholarship at Notre Dame would be honored whether or not he could play, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"I don’t know if I've been more depressed, handling Eric and talking to him through this," Brey said. "He's been unbelievable. His frame of mind has picked me up a couple times on the phone."
"He's great. He understands the reality that playing basketball at the Big East level may never be part of the equation again. He's very understanding of that. In the last two weeks, I think he's really come to grips with understanding that getting an education is now very, very important. He's very realistic about it."