One of ULM's top returning players is sidelined from practice because of a knee ailment.
Senior forward Malcolm Thomas has been shut down and will miss more than a week of preseason preparation on the court to allow a sore knee to recuperate.
"Ten days is what I was told," ULM coach Orlando Early said. "He needs to sit out and rest, which is the only thing that will help."
Thomas is ULM's top returning scorer and claimed a spot on the All-Sun Belt Conference preseason third team this week. He was voted Louisiana Newcomer of the Year last season from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association after transferring to ULM from Tyler Junior College. Thomas averaged 12.3 points and ranked second on the team in rebounding at 4.8 boards per game. He also posted 1.1 steals per game to lead ULM and ranked ninth in the Sun Belt in three-point field goal percentage last year (.400).
With Thomas out and an undetermined lineup, Early is mulling numerous possibilities on the wing.
"We're playing Jarvis Hill, who started for us last year," Early said. "We haven't decided on any starters yet. We're looking at a bunch of different combinations – Hill, Nile Forbes, Colby Carr. We're also looking to play Tony Hooper there."
Another wounded Warhawk is newcomer is Hugh Mingo, who has yet to practice with the team because of mending stress fractures.
Getting the point: ULM is counting on senior Tony Hooper and junior Warren Fuselier to man the point guard position this season. Neither player has grabbed the reins yet.
"So far, it's been OK," Early said. "It hasn't been great. We think Tony, as well as Warren, need to continue to get better. Warren needs to work to get more comfortable. He's been kind of sick and missed some practice with the flu bug. With those two guys, it's just a matter of getting more reps and getting more comfortable with what we're doing."
Warhawk Wingtips: ULM's depth will be compromised in the first semester as both Kenny Averette and Brandon Williams sit out for academic reasons. … Two newcomers who have caught Early's attention are freshman center Rory Burt and forward Tommie Sykes. Burt is ULM's developmental big man at 7-0, while Sykes is a high-flying signee from Odessa College.
… Fabio Ribeiro is also impressing with his ability to defend the post, rebound and screen. "He may not do the things that a lot of fans and people say, "He's a great player. But he does things, the dirty work, that coaches want," Early said. … ULM plays UT-Tyler in an exhibition on Thursday, Nov. 5.