AURORA | Just two days after he signed his National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Denver, Rangeview senior guard Elijah Blake found out he will miss his senior season.
On Monday, Raiders coach Shawn Palmer confirmed that Blake — the 2015-16 co-EMAC Player of the Year who helped lead his team to the semifinals of last season’s Class 5A state basketball tournament — got the results on Friday from an MRI he had done on Nov. 10 that showed an injury he suffered in early October was a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Blake is slated for surgery later this week and will miss the full 2016-17 season for Rangeview as he rehabs the injury.
“It changes our outlook, but I really like our group and hope to prove some people wrong,” Palmer told the Sentinel.
Blake averaged 10.0 points, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals last season and was part of the inaugural A-Town All-Star Game following Rangeview’s 26-1 season that ended with as semifinal loss to Eaglecrest.
Without Blake in the lineup, the Raiders will look to reload minus their top five scorers from last season.
Heady senior Matthew Johnson is the top scorer back with an average of 5.8 points per game, while he is also likely to take on a larger role in distributing the ball.
Though he won’t be on the floor, Blake will try to provide leadership for a team with very few players with varsity experience.
New University of Denver men’s basketball coach Rodney Billups was effusive in his praise of Blake on Signing Day.
“We are ecstatic to get him here on campus and playing in that crimson-and-gold uniform,” Billups said in a press release. “It’s a good opportunity for us to have Elijah here. He’s a Colorado kid, a Denver kid at heart. It just made sense for everyone involved.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel