BYU announced today that senior forward Stephen Rogers will retire from basketball due to recurring knee problems.
Rogers is the sharpshooting, rail-thin junior college transfer who picked BYU over Utah State a few years ago. He gave the Cougars some instant offense his first season in the program, but was saddled by a torn meniscus suffered last December and never totally recovered.
BYU is suddenly ultra-thin inside. Another forward, Chris Collinsworth, announced his retirement from basketball last month for roughly the same reasons: chronic leg injuries.
Now coach Dave Rose has just five players on his roster to fill the two inside positions: Brandon Davies, Nate Austin, Ian Harward, juco transfer Augustin Abrosino and Josh Sharp. The coach said Tuesday that shooting guard/wing Brock Zylstra could play the four spot if needed, but that he's undersized for that position and would be played there sparingly.
The Cougars will honor the two injured players' scholarships as medical hardship cases. However, they cannot give the scholarships to an existing walk-on, or a new players, because the players' retirements came after the school year started.
“I feel terrible for Stephen and his family,” coach Dave Rose said in a BYU news release. “He worked hard all offseason with hopes of returning to practice and helping our team this season. Stephen has had a major impact on the success of our teams the last couple years and he will be missed."
Said Rogers: “I’ve enjoyed my experience at BYU and I’m extremely grateful for all the support from family, friends and the fans. I look forward to supporting the team this season and doing what I can from the sidelines.”
More from the BYU release:
Rogers transferred to BYU prior to the 2010-11 season from Mesa Community College. In his one season at Mesa he averaged 21.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, hit 85 3-pointers and earned junior college All-America honors. In 2010-11 he helped BYU win a program record 32 games and earn a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament while averaged 4.1 points and 2.2 rebounds.
Last season Rogers got off to a strong start, averaging 9.9 points and hitting 15 threes in the first 10 games before tearing the meniscus in his right knee. After surgery in Dec. 2011, he was limited to just eight games due to recurring knee soreness.
Rogers had another operation in April and began rehabbing his knee to prepare for the 2012-13 season. The knee has not responded to treatment and has continued to swell and give Rogers pain, preventing him from returning to full activity with the team.