Mocs point guard Dontay Hampton’s found out what head coach John Shulman knew since the two had exchanged words as the fifth-year senior lay on the court clutching his knee last week at Elon’s Alumni Gym.
The ninth-year head coach said Tuesday he wanted his team to move on, and that the Mocs needed “some finality to it.”
They got some Wednesday.
Hampton’s playing career at Chattanooga is over. He’ll undergo season-ending surgery for his partially torn ACL on Thursday morning.
“‘Tay’s future is he’s going to graduate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and he goes in tomorrow morning for his ACL surgery,” Shulman said. “He’s finished. It’s what we thought, but it’s still not great when the doctor tells you that.”
Hampton’s impact in five games for the Mocs can’t be overstated, especially after he watched the first 15 from the sidelines. He carried the team through its 70-65 win at The Citadel, then two games later scored a career high 22-points while leading a 19-point comeback in the final 6:36 of regulation in Chattanooga’s 91-88 overtime win over Appalachian State.
“Our team changed at that point,” Shulman said. “That was ‘Tay’s team. He breaks his hand; struggles. It starts getting better then he goes down against Elon. It affected us; it should have affected us. He’s your senior leader, your brother. He’s your guy.”
Hampton averaged nearly 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in his brief time on the court in his final season at Chattanooga.
“Is it fair to our team? No. Life’s not fair, and we were never promised it would be fair. Having to juggle and switch and figure things out in February is probably not the greatest. Can’t help it.”
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.