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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Shaka Smart ‘can’t really quantify’ Chase Ross’ impact — but the benefits of his return are clear

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Chase Ross drives to the basket in Marquette’s 78-59 win over Notre Dame Dec. 9.

Chase Ross may have missed a month — but upon his return, he didn’t miss a beat.

Partway through the first half of Marquette men’s basketball’s game at Seton Hall Jan. 6, Ross was wrestling for a loose ball when he separated his shoulder.

“I remember just having the ball and my arm just didn’t feel right,” Ross said. “And so that’s why I fell down. Scratched my shoulder, and I didn’t even know it was dislocated until Sean (Jones) came over. His eyes bulged open.

“The trainer had a theory of a couple of things, and I looked over and my shoulder was out of place.”

It was announced a few days later the program would re-evaluate him at the end of January.

During his time on the sidelines, the sophomore guard focused on rebuilding strength and increasing his range of motion.

“It was a pretty long process,” he said. “It was difficult at times. I mean, I had some setbacks, mentally, but the coaches and players were all around me, so that’s why I came back earlier than expected. And to do what I did, trusting them, them trusting me.”

After a month, Ross returned in the Golden Eagles’ 85-80 win over Villanova Jan. 30. He came into the game after the first media timeout — re-occupying his sixth-man role — and immediately scored a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer off an assist from Tyler Kolek.

The make helped him get back into his groove.

“Just, it went in,” Ross said, “confidence shot through the roof.”

Four minutes later, he got another catch-and-shoot three from the same spot — this time from Oso Ighodaro — to extend Marquette’s early lead. He finished his return game having played a career-most 31 minutes, in which he scored 11 points on 2-for-3 shooting from deep and grabbed four rebounds.

“He showed a lot of guts tonight to play 31 minutes,” head coach Shaka Smart said to ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith after the game in a radio interview.

“He definitely was fatigued in the locker room. He just laid back in his chair because it’s hard to go from not playing for over three minutes and come out and play 31 minutes, but he’s got a heart of gold.”

Ross had to wear a bulky brace on his left shoulder for the first two games back, but he played without it for the first time against St. John’s, wearing tape instead.

Ross’ return has helped replenish the injury-stricken Golden Eagles (18-5, 9-3 Big East), and his minutes will be crucial when they look to get revenge on Butler (16-8, 7-6 Big East) Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“Chase Ross, I mean, having him back is awesome,” Smart said last week at a media availability. “I mean, it makes such a difference. You can’t really quantify his impact on our team.”

Smart is the beneficiary of Ross’ abilities, and Ross is the beneficiary of Smart’s philosophies.

“I’ve never had a coach let me play so freely as coach (Smart) does. I mean, he doesn’t really get mad at a lot of shots,” Ross said. “If you shoot it, he says shoot it with confidence, don’t half shoot it. And just as long as you play defense, you’ll do good.”

Smart isn’t one to listen to the numbers, but rather the process that leads to them.

“I think, as Mark Twain said, ‘There’s lies, damned lies and statistics,'” Smart said. “With players, for sure it’s important for them to understand, man, if you will just follow the appropriate process [of it takes to win]. Don’t worry that the last game you went 2-for-10. Don’t worry that the last five threes didn’t go in. Just keep doing it the right way.”

For Smart, the “right way” starts with defensive aggression, which Ross has never had trouble with — he was likened to a pit bull last year by assistant coach DeAndre Haynes. 

“I have the determination to guard everybody,” Ross said. “If you want to put me on a big, I can guard the big. You want to put me on the guards, I can do all that.”

In his first two games back, Ross hadn’t done a high-flying dunk. But that all changed against St. John’s when he caught a pass and, with zero hesitation, put his left hand on the rim and slammed the ball down.

If he wasn’t back after his first or second 3-pointer against Villanova, he was for sure back then.

His signature move — like him — returned without missing a beat.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributors
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.
Forster Goodrich
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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