Demons point guard Jalan West suffered a torn ACL and damaged cartilage in the same knee that shut him down for the entire 2015-16 season. West received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA following the initial knee injury, however, he is all but finished playing college basketball at this point in his career.
And that’s unfortunate because Northwestern State had one of the top 1-2 punches in all of NCAA basketball in West and Zeek Woodley.
When West was healthy, he was one of the top scorers in the nation. He went from averaging 10.2 points per game during his freshman season to averaging 20 points per outing in 2014-15. The Louisiana native averaged 34.5 minutes, 7.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, shot 46 percent from the field and shot 42 percent from long range.
Even though he plays mid-major basketball, he was virtually impossible to limit when the ball was in his hands. He did struggle against Texas A&M (eight points on 2-of-8 shooting), Oklahoma (five points on 2-of-13 shooting), and Texas Tech (four points on 2-of-9 shooting) in 2014, but he dropped 25 and seven against Arkansas, 33 against Incarnate Word, and 34 against UT Martin.
On the other hand, Woodley averaged 22.2 points per game the last two seasons, while grabbing 5.0 and 5.2 rebounds per game respectively. He shot a deadly efficient 53 percent from the field in 2015-16 and 41 percent from beyond the arc.
While Woodley was incredible last season, Northwestern State greatly missed his sidekick as they finished 8-20 overall and 5-13 in conference play.
Without West in the fold for the entire 2016-17 season, the Demons will likely be an average squad in the Southland Conference (better than last year). But with both players in the fold, they could have made a run for the conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.