Men’s basketball forward James Gascoigne felt an intense pain in his knees as he ran up the court during his senior season at Arlington High School.
“I was just constantly in pain,” Gascoigne said in an interview. “I felt like an old man.”
The 6’4” forward played through the pain for the entire season, and he finished his high school career averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game, according to Emerson Athletics. Gascoigne later learned he tore both of his hip labrums after tests to his hips and knees. This came after he committed to play for the Lions as one of the five freshmen recruited this season.
Gascoigne said the torn labrums led to hip impingement, a condition that causes bumps along his hip joints. He plans to undergo his second hip surgery of the year over winter break.
“They just stitched up the labrum and then shaved down the bones,” Gascoigne said.
Each surgery requires a six-to nine-month recovery, which would clear him to play by the beginning of the 2020-21 season, Gascoigne said. Gascoigne underwent his first operation in summer 2019 and arrived on campus two weeks later.
“Most days I just have a lot of physical therapy exercises,” Gascoigne said. “A lot of hip-strengthening stuff, core stability, stuff like that. Very light stuff as of right now.”
Despite arriving on campus in the middle of his first rehab stint, Gascoigne found ways to stay involved with the team.
“I have been going to every practice, and I’ve been hanging out with the team all the time,” Gascoigne said. “I just step in on some drills that I can do and just be an extra body.”
On his own time, Gascoigne said he works on his shooting form and upper body strength as much as he can. Assistant coach Jack Barrett said Gascoigne’s strength and versatility stood out during his recruitment.
“We loved James because he’s a pretty unique player,” Barrett said in an interview. “He’s a little bit undersized, he’s a little bit stuck in between positions, but for us it was great versatility. He’s very strong, he’s very athletic, and he’s a great kid.”
Barrett said Gascoigne is handling rehabilitation well so far.
“It’s obviously a pretty tough thing,” Barrett said. “You’re coming into your freshman year, you’re excited, and you want to play.”
The team lost two seniors last year and brought in five freshmen. Barrett said this helps take the pressure off of Gascoigne and his recovery.
“We have a pretty good team and it’s not like, ‘Oh, we lose him, and now we’re not going to be able to succeed this year,’” Barrett said. “That took a little bit of stress off of him.”
Gascoigne said he will be able to contribute to the Lions in many ways once he returns to the court.
“I’m sort of an undersized wing player,” Gascoigne said. “I shoot the three and can sort of take advantage of smaller players in the post. They want me playing the stretch-four position and creating mismatches against taller players.”
Barrett said Gascoigne will fit perfectly with the team’s current strategy.
“We’re essentially playing four guards and [sophomore center] Jarred Houston,” Barrett said. “So all of those positions are a little bit interchangeable. Plugging him in shouldn’t really be a problem for us.”
Gascoigne will sit out this season and return next season with four years of eligibility, allowing him to play four years of collegiate basketball. Barrett says the experience Gascoigne gains this year will be beneficial for when he steps on the court next year.
“He gets a sneak peek at everything we do, how we work, how we coach, how his teammates play, and our style of play,” Barrett said. “I think he gets a better understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish.”