WALKER: What a strange year for Meeks

Jodie Meeks began this season by making a huge statement with his play when he scored more than 30 points in a preseason exhibition game. That game showed how well Meeks fits into the Billy Gillispie system. Then the injury bug hit him, first a stress fracture, and then a hip flexor strain that has been hard to heal. KSR's Kenny Walker discusses the frustrations Meeks must feel as a player.

This has been such a strange season for Jodie Meeks. It's hard to know exactly how he must be feeling, but you know he's frustrated. When you are available for one game and then out for three or four games, it is very tough to get rhythm and confidence from teammates or yourself.

Jodie is such a good kid. You can see that he is trying real hard. He and Jasper both have had difficult years. I feel sorry for him. I don't think at one point since the injury has he been 100 percent and I don't think he's going to be 100 percent the rest of the way.

I think Jodie has accepted that he won't be 100% and is basically trying to do what he can to help out the team; however, it is very difficult for him to do that because his game is based on explosiveness. Jodie's game is predicated on jumping over people and outrunning people. I think whatever is going on with the hip flexor is hurting his game because he can't elevate on his shot. When he drives into the lane, he can't explode and finish. You take those things away from a guy like Jodie Meeks, and then he is just an average player. I am sure he has been struggling with that feeling mentally and physically.

Then the other thing you wonder about and hear about is whether he will be back here next year. You hear the rumors and just wonder. The way this whole year went down is so strange. When he scored 34 points in the exhibition game, you were thinking this was going to be his breakout year. Now he has struggled mentally and physically all year.

I want him to come back. I hope he comes back because it was such a hard year on him, but you know after everything he has been through this year that he has to figure out things in the offseason. No. 1, he wants to get healthy. If he gets healthy, where does he go from here?

I love him. I think he's a good kid. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty. I think if he can get healthy, then he will be happy here because everybody has seen what type of player he can be. But if he is not allowed the opportunity to get healthy, and it seems like the only way he is going to get healthy is rest. You just hope the time he is resting his body he will be thinking positively in terms of coming back here.


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