Running laps is rarely a favorite activity for athletes. However, facing a long recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum, Ariel Stephenson (Prince George) found herself grateful to gain clearance to run around the court at Wake Forest’s practice facility earlier this month. After undergoing the summer surgery, the senior had been relegated to a training bike for months.

“Every step is important, and I’ve just got to be grateful for the little things,” she said. 

Stephenson initially injured her shoulder before the start of her junior season, but ended up playing through the pain. It forced her to miss part of her summer training regimen and some practice and game time. Her shooting statistics suffered as well, as she averaged 8.9 points, down from 13.1 in her sophomore campaign.

“Last year, I was so excited to come back that I wasn’t mature enough to listen to my body yet, and I felt the results of that,” she said. “I pushed through it and finished the season the best I knew how.”

With the experience behind her, getting corrective surgery and taking a redshirt season for 2018-19 was a no-brainer. With live game action off the table until November, Stephenson has found other ways to contribute from the bench. Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said her most vocal player has continued in that role, but in more of a coaching role for her younger teammates in practice and games.

“She’s at every practice. She’s constantly in our underclassmen guards’ ears,” Hoover said. “She’ll get into their ears or translate something. She knows every scouting report going in. She just still finds a way to be an active impact on the team.”

Stephenson has enjoyed her new role. She’s found coaching the 5-on-5 portions of summer camps to be enjoyable in the past, so it was natural to carry it over to her own team. Hoover said Stephenson has done a particularly good job coaching up the freshman guards, such as Kaylen Dickson (five starts, 4.1 points per game) as to how to properly apply a scouting report in-game.

“I think I had to find my place, but as I sat down and thought about it, it was almost natural to talk to my (younger) teammates because I was there a couple years ago,” Stephenson said. “Once they were able to trust me and understand what I was saying is from a good place, they took it a little easier.”

When Stephenson returns to the court next season as a graduate student, Wake Forest will return its most dynamic two-way player. She routinely drew the opponent’s top offensive threat on defense last season and is a career three-level scorer.

“I think that always makes you feel at rest as a coach knowing you’ve got experienced guards,” Hoover said. “[The ACC] is a brutal league. We’ll have three seniors next year. With Ariel being a postgrad student, she’ll bring a lot of experience to the table for us.”

Hot shots

Jare’l Spellman (Hermitage) continued his defensive domination with a nine-block performance for Sacred Heart — a school record in a Division I game — in a Monday victory over NEC rival Wagner. At 2.75 blocks per game (as of Thursday), the junior ranks ninth in the country.

Na’Jai Pollard (Highland Springs) has continued to dominate competition, and media outlets have taken notice of the Delaware State star. The senior was noted as the No. 2 women’s basketball player among HBCUs. The ranking comes on the heels of her performance between Jan. 14-20, which included a pair of double-doubles. Through Thursday, she has dropped to seventh nationally at 22.4 points per game, but she is up to 26th in rebounding at 10.9 per game.

Kenny Williams (L.C. Bird) started his senior campaign cold from the field, but the shooting guard has drastically improved during a current seven-game stretch for North Carolina. Williams has hit on 50 percent of his shots in January after shooting 36.7 percent in November and December. In total, the senior is shooting 41.5 percent.

Curious as to the absence of Dimitri Georgiadis (Benedictine) from the weekly statistics report? The Citadel freshman suffered an injury during the summer and was limited in game action to begin the season. The coaching staff decided to play the post player the maximum games allowed before applying a redshirt. In other injury news, Charme Lilly (Cosby) has missed North Carolina A&T’s last two games with an undisclosed injury.

Men’s statistics

Ameer Bennett (St. Christopher’s), Delaware State: Monday — 35 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in loss to Florida A&M; Saturday — 19 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds in loss to Howard

Rasir Bolton, Penn State: Saturday — 27 minutes, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, 1 block in loss to Rutgers

Marvin Cannon (Steward), Washington State: Thursday — 22 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in loss to Oregon State; Sunday — vs. Oregon, late

Aaron Duhart (Trinity Episcopal), Army: Wednesday — 9 minutes, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Holy Cross; Saturday — 10 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in win over Lafayette

Charles Falden (L.C. Bird), Winthrop: Monday — 18 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist in win over UNC Asheville; Thursday — 18 minutes, 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block in win over Gardner-Webb; Saturday — 17 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Presbyterian

Chris Ford (L.C. Bird), Norfolk State: Monday — 7 minutes, 1 rebound in win over South Carolina State; Saturday — 4 minutes, 1 point, 3 rebounds in win over Maryland-Eastern Shore

A.J. Gaston (Highland Springs), Grambling State: Monday — 28 minutes, 5 points, 1 assist in loss to Prairie View A&M; Saturday — 33 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block in loss to Jackson State

Mario Haskett (L.C. Bird), Harvard: Monday — 12 minutes, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Howard; Saturday — 3 minutes in win over Dartmouth

Jalen Hudson, Florida: Tuesday — 17 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds in win over Texas A&M; Saturday — 19 minutes, 6 points, 2 blocks in loss to TCU

Zach Jacobs (Trinity Episcopal), James Madison: Thursday — 10 minutes, 2 rebounds in loss to Hofstra; Saturday — 17 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds in loss to Northeastern

Malik Jefferson (Hopewell), Mount Saint Mary’s: Monday — 21 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks in loss to Fairleigh Dickinson; Thursday — 24 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in win over LIU Brooklyn; Saturday — 22 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in loss to St. Francis (NY)

Malik Johnson, Canisius: Thursday — 28 minutes, 7 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds in win over Monmouth

Curtis Jones, Oklahoma State: Wednesday — 25 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in loss to Oklahoma; Saturday — 19 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in win over South Carolina

Greg Jones (John Marshall), James Madison: Thursday — 11 minutes, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in loss to Hofstra; Saturday — 16 minutes, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to Northeastern

Jacob Kessler (Mills Godwin), Army: Wednesday — 22 minutes, 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Holy Cross; Saturday — 13 minutes, 5 points, 3 rebounds, in win over Lafayette

J.J. Matthews (Millwood), Arkansas State: Thursday — 2 minutes, 3 points in win over Appalachian State; Saturday — 20 minutes, 9 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to Coastal Carolina

Devin Morgan (Matoaca), Youngstown State: Saturday — 25 minutes, 17 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal in loss to Cleveland State

Zane Najdawi (Cosby), The Citadel: Thursday — 34 minutes, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist in loss to UNC Greensboro; Saturday — 37 minutes, 18 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists in win over VMI

 

Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz (Deep Run), Liberty: Monday — 21 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in win over North Alabama; Sunday — 27 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in win over Jacksonville.

Greg Parham (Monacan), VMI: Thursday — 20 minutes, 1 point in loss to Mercer; Saturday — 12 minutes, 6 points, 2 assists in loss The Citadel

Ryan Pearson (Henrico), Navy: Wednesday — DNP in loss to Lehigh; Saturday — 5 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound in loss to Holy Cross

Alex Petrie (St. Christopher’s), Lafayette: Wednesday — 28 minutes, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Colgate; Saturday — 20 minutes, 20 points in loss to Army

Zach Pfaffenberger, Sacred Heart: Monday — DNP in win over Wagner; Thursday — 12 minutes, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 rebound in loss to Robert Morris; Saturday — 4 minutes, 2 points in loss to St. Francis (PA)

Mike’L Simms (Highland Springs), VCU: Wednesday — 15 minutes, 2 rebounds in loss to Rhode Island; Saturday — 14 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal in win over Duquesne

Jare’l Spellman (Hermitage), Sacred Heart: Monday — 34 minutes, 8 points, 9 blocks, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in win over Wagner; Thursday — 25 minutes, 8 points, 4 rebounds in loss to Robert Morris; Saturday — 16 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks in loss to St. Francis (PA)

Deandre Thomas (Millwood), Samford: Thursday — 14 minutes, 3 points, 1 steal in loss to Wofford; Saturday — 14 minutes, 8 points in win over Furman

Jason Wade (Trinity Episcopal), Old Dominion: Monday — 25 minutes, 7 points, 6 steals, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block in win over Charlotte; Thursday — 27 minutes, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal in win over UTEP; Saturday — 29 minutes, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block in loss to UTSA

Maliek White (George Wythe), Providence: Wednesday — 22 minutes, 7 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Xavier; Sunday — 9 minutes, 2 points in win over DePaul.

Pinky Wiley (L.C. Bird), Delaware State: Monday — 35 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in loss to Florida A&M; Saturday — 38 minutes, 13 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists in loss to Howard

 

Kenny Williams (L.C. Bird), North Carolina: Monday — 27 minutes, 10 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound in win over Virginia Tech

C.J. Williams (Millwood), Howard: Monday — 32 minutes, 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Harvard; Saturday — 38 minutes, 30 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in win over Delaware State

Women’s statistics

Dorothy Adomako (Cosby), Georgetown: Friday — 37 minutes, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, steals in loss to St. John’s; Sunday — 35 minutes, 21 points, 11 rebounds in loss at Seton Hall

Sydnei Archie (St. Catherine’s), VCU: Wednesday — 21 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in loss to George Washington; Sunday — 24 minutes, 9 points, 8 rebounds in win over Saint Louis.

Taya Bolden (Highland Springs), Campbell: Tuesday — 17 minutes, 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in loss to High Point; Saturday — 24 minutes, 4 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals in loss to Radford

Aja Boyd (ARGS), UNC Greensboro: Saturday — 27 minutes, 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, 1 block in win over Western Carolina

Dejah Carter (Cosby), Old Dominion: Thursday — 18 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block in win over UTEP; Saturday — 17 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal in win over UTSA

Taja Cole (L.C. Bird), Georgia: Sunday — DNP in loss to Alabama.

Jennifer Coleman (Highland Springs), Navy: Wednesday — 19 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Lafayette; Saturday — 35 minutes, 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists in loss to Boston

CeCe Crudup (Highland Springs), UNC Greensboro: Saturday — 32 minutes, 3 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block in win over Western Carolina

Camarie Gatling (Highland Springs), George Mason: Sunday — 20 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds in win over Rhode Island.

Tyah Hunter (Hopewell), Furman: Saturday — 2 minutes in win over Wofford

Daijah Jefferson (Hopewell), Georgia Tech: 2 minutes in loss to N.C. State

Jocelyn Jones (Cosby), North Carolina: Thursday — 7 minutes, 1 steal in win over Virginia Tech; Sunday — 2 minutes in win over Notre Dame

Tina Lindenfeld (Midlothian), Radford: Tuesday — 14 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block in win over Presbyterian; Saturday — 18 minutes, 8 points in win over Campbell

Mallory Odell (Deep Run), Longwood: Tuesday — 19 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to UNC Asheville; Saturday — 23 minutes, 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in loss to South Carolina Upstate

Alex Parson (Monacan), Richmond: Wednesday — 32 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists in win over Saint Joseph’s; Saturday — 35 minutes, 14 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals in win over LaSalle

Na’Jai Pollard (Highland Springs), Delaware State: Monday — 40 minutes, 22 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist, 1 block in loss to Florida A&M; Saturday — 29 minutes, 23 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in loss to Howard

Taya Robinson (Huguenot), VCU: Wednesday — 27 minutes, 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals in loss to George Washington; Sunday — 31 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds in win over Saint Louis

Ali Trani (Cosby), UNC Asheville: Tuesday — 30 minutes, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in win over Longwood

Megan Walker (Monacan), UConn: Wednesday — 23 minutes, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist in win over SMU; Sunday — vs. UCF, late

Anna Wilson, Stanford: Friday — 22 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist in win over Colorado; Sunday — 5 minutes in loss to Utah