Blows to Bulls’ roster before season-opener — Yetna out for season, Kiir out indefinitely

Alexis Yetna (10) will miss the season with a knee injury, coach Brian Gregory announced Monday. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

A day before the season opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff, it was revealed USF men’s basketball redshirt sophomore forward Alexis Yetna will be out for the season with a knee injury, coach Brian Gregory announced Monday.

Yetna suffered an injury to his left knee during practice Friday.

“It’s hard for a guy who cares about his kids, but more importantly it’s hard for [Yetna] and his teammates to see,” Gregory said, “because everybody knows who he is and what he’s all about.”

There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about how Yetna injured his knee. Gregory called it “just one of those normal type basketball plays.”

While the type of injury wasn’t disclosed, Gregory said Yetna twisted his knee while making a pass. Gregory also added that, while the injury occurred on the same knee that kept Yetna out of the Bulls’ exhibition against Saint Leo last week, the two injuries were unrelated.

The 6-foot-8-inch Yetna was AAC Freshman of the Year last season and was one of 20 players named to the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award watch list. He played in 36 games last season and averaged 9.6 rebounds and 12.3 points.

“We’re going to have to probably experiment a little bit because the difficult part of coaching is when you plan, plan, plan … you can plan all you want,” Gregory said. “There are things out there you cannot control and then when those things happen, you need to respond the right way.”

It’s a blow to the team in terms of talent, but also a personal blow, according to Gregory.

“You know, the guy works his tail off,” Gregory said. “When you see a kid that’s going through what he’s going through over the last couple days, it’s hard.

“It’s the hardest thing to go through … as a coach that cares deeply about his individual players.”

Gregory also announced junior forward Mayan Kiir, who played in all 38 games last season, will be out indefinitely due to personal reasons.

“We’re helping Mayan work through some private personal issues that need to be addressed before we concern ourselves with any basketball competition,” Gregory said.

Gregory said this has been the case with Kiir “for a while” and will offer updates as they come.

“He’s an active member of our team on a daily basis, but until we enter the next phase with him … I’ll let you know.”