College of Charleston coach Earl Grant hopes to ease Anthony Stitt back into the Cougars’ lineup this week.
The senior guard has missed the last seven games after undergoing knee surgery to repair some cartilage damage. The Charlotte native is expected to return to the lineup Thursday night at TD Arena against William & Mary.
It’s been nearly a month since Stitt had surgery and Grant doesn’t want to put too much pressure on his point guard as he works his way back into the lineup. Stitt last played Jan. 8 against Hofstra.
“The biggest thing for Anthony right now is to come off the bench and be a backup point guard,” Grant said. “We’ll have to play it by ear the first couple of games. We need to see how his knee holds up and where his conditioning is. I’m not expecting a lot from him in the first couple of games.”
Stitt has other plans.
“I know coach Grant and the coaching staff just want me to ease back into it, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Stitt said. “I only know one way to play and that’s all out, 100 percent, leaving everything on the floor. It doesn’t matter how long I’m out there, I’m going to do whatever I need to do to help this team win again.”
Stitt has practiced the last three days and said he has felt little or no pain in his knee. The only thing that concerns him is his conditioning.
“I think I’m pretty much back to 100 percent, I feel better now than I did before I had the surgery,” Stitt said. “I didn’t know what the problem was before the surgery. It was one of those nagging injuries that just wasn’t going to go away until I had the surgery.”
Sitting on the bench the last month has given Stitt a new perspective, he said. One he thinks that can translate to the court and help not only himself, but the rest of the team end a five-game losing streak.
“You get to see a lot of stuff from the sideline that you don’t see during the game or that you might not catch on film because you’re in the heat of the moment,” Stitt said. “When you’re on the sidelines, you’re kind of a coach and you can see what mistakes are being made or what we need to eliminate to start winning again. Since I’ve been back at practice I’ve been able to focus my attention on some of those details that I noticed when I was sitting on the bench.”
The Cougars have lost 12 of their last 13 games, and have dropped their last five games by a total of 13 points. Stitt said watching the Cougars lose the close games was the most difficult because he might have made a difference.
“All the losses were tough to watch,” Stitt said. “I think we’ve lost the last five games by two or three points and that was hard because I’m sitting on the bench wanting to get back out there. I know I could have helped in most of those games.”