Injuries could play role in Mr. Basketball selection

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Many factors go into selecting a Mr. Basketball USA.

Underclass honors and positioning in the ESPNU 100 play a role in the preseason, while team success and in-season production are the major factors at the end of the year.

There are other factors such as postseason all-star game performances, strength of supporting cast and competition level.

There is one other factor nobody enjoys mentioning: injury.

Fortunately, catastrophic injuries to Mr. Basketball USA candidates have been minimal over the past 20 years.

We all know about the injuries that have plagued 2006 winner Greg Oden of Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) and 2007 EA SPORTS All-American Blake Griffin from Oklahoma Christian School (Edmond, Okla.). Those injuries, however, came after the conclusion of their prep and short college careers.

In fact, the only junior Player of the Year to miss the majority of his senior season in 13 years was Delvon Roe. After earning top honors among juniors in 2006-07, the former St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) and current Michigan State forward played only one game as a senior before a right knee injury.

Even before this season started, there was one less shoo-in Mr. Basketball when Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) point guard Tony Wroten Jr. was lost because of a football injury. Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) senior Josh Smith is another candidate who has missed time due to injury, although the UCLA recruit hopes to finish the season with a bang.

Injuries, specifically one to the right knee of ESPNU Super 60 No. 1 prospect Michael Gilchrist of St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), impact the results of this week's Mr. Basketball USA Tracker.

Gilchrist suffered a knee strain in St. Pat's 62-46 victory over Union (Union, N.J.) on Jan. 5. He's doubtful for Monday's matchup at the Hoophall Classic, when top-ranked St. Patrick squares off against FAB 50 No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) at 3 p.m. EST on ESPNU.

In the preseason poll, Gilchrist received three first-place (10-point). But this week he didn't receive a first- or second-place vote.

Gilchrist will likely be back in action before February, but just how much his candidacy has been affected remains to be seen.

In Gilchrist's absence, teammate Kyrie Irving stepped up his game and was named ESPN RISE East Region Player of the Week last week. In two St. Pat's victories, the Duke-bound point guard netted 61 total points.

After earning honorable mention honors last week by appearing on four ballots and accumulating 25 points, Irving appeared on six ballots this week and finished in third place with 47 points behind season-leaders Jared Sullinger from Northland (Columbus, Ohio) and Harrison Barnes of Ames (Ames, Iowa).

Irving even garnered one first-place vote among the 10-person Mr. Basketball selection committee and, remember, having a teammate talented enough to appear on the tracker presents another unique factor in the selection process.

So just how much time can a player can miss and still win national honors such as Mr. Basketball USA?

Read below to see the voting results of the fourth 2009-10 ESPN RISE Mr. Basketball Tracker. Stay logged into ESPNRISE.com all season to track the progress of the top individual players -- as well as the top teams -- in the ESPN RISE FAB 50.

Click here to check out the high school games on TV this season.

Others Receiving Votes:
Joseph Young (Yates, Houston, Texas) 14 pts. (3)

K.T. Harrell (Brewbaker Tech, Montgomery, Ala.) 14 pts. (2)

Quincy Miller (Quality Education, Winston-Salem, N. C.) 14 pts. (2)

Joe Jackson (White Station, Memphis, Tenn.) 10 pts. (2)

Ben Brust (Mundelein, Ind.) 9 pts. (1)

Perry Jones (Duncanville, Texas) 9 pts. (1)

Jayvaughn Pinkston (Bishop Loughlin, Brownsville, N.Y.) 8 pts. (1)

Tristan Thompson (Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.) 7 pts. (1)

Perry Ellis (Heights, Wichita, Kan.) 6 pts. (1)

Corey Hawkins (Estrella Foothills, Goodyear, Ariz.) 6 pts. (1)

Josh Selby (Lake Clifton, Baltimore, Md.) 6 pts. (1)

Marquis Teague (Pike, Indianapolis, Ind.) 5 pts. (1)

Terrence Jones (Jefferson, Portland, Ore.) 4 pts. (1)

Adonis Thomas (Melrose, Memphis, Tenn.) 4 pts. (1)