Shorthanded Bron­cos shun woe-is-we out­look

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW - By Steve Kroner Steve Kroner is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer.

Point guard KJ Fea­gin said he and his Santa Clara team­mates will be “smart, en­er­getic and tough” this sea­son. At least at the out­set of the sched­ule, they’ll need to avoid adopt­ing a “woe is we” men­tal­ity.

In­juries have ham­pered the Bron­cos in the past two sea­sons, and in 2018-19, they’ll have to do with­out guard Matt Hauser — a two-year starter who is skip­ping his se­nior sea­son to al­low a chronic foot in­jury to heal — and fresh­man for­ward Juan Du­casse, who had knee surgery in Au­gust.

More­over, se­nior for­ward Hen­rik Jader­sten is re­cov­er­ing from a stress frac­ture in his foot. Head coach Herb Sen­dek said that in a best-case sce­nario, Jader­sten could play in games by the mid­dle of this month, but it’s more likely he’ll be side­lined a few more weeks.

Fea­gin av­er­aged 17.5 points and four as­sists per game as a ju­nior last sea­son en route to mak­ing the All-WCC team. He won’t fo­cus on what the Bron­cos don’t have.

“At a cer­tain point,” Fea­gin said, “you have to re­al­ize that you have to break through and you have to just think, like, ‘I’ve got these … guys and we’re just gonna roll with the punches.’ …

“Last year, I kind of had that (woe-is-we) at­ti­tude, but at this point, it’s my last year so I don’t have time to have that at­ti­tude.”

With­out Jader­sten, the Bron­cos will be­gin the sea­son with only nine schol­ar­ship play­ers on their ros­ter. That puts an even stronger fo­cus on Fea­gin.

“We rely on KJ a great deal,” Sen­dek said. “He’s not only used to that, but he thrives on that.”

Said Gon­zaga head coach Mark Few of Fea­gin: “He’s got a lot of free­dom with the ball in his hands. He can do a lot of things. Any­time you can shoot it out to 25 (feet) but yet you’re a ca­pa­ble driver, fin­isher, dis­trib­u­tor, (you) are hard to guard.”

Sen­dek pro­jected his start­ing lineup to be Fea­gin, sopho­more guard Tahj Eaddy, sopho­more for­ward Josip Vran­kic (who av­er­aged 10.4 points and 4.6 re­bounds per game last sea­son), se­nior for­ward Josh Martin and se­nior cen­ter Fal­lou Ndoye.

Eaddy (South­east Mis­souri), Martin (Cal Poly) and Ndoye (Cal State Bak­ers­field) all trans­ferred to Santa Clara.

Fea­gin knows the Bron­cos are some­what shorthanded, but he wants to turn that into a pos­i­tive.

“It’s kind of like our backs are against the wall,” Fea­gin said, “and that’s when we’re the most dan­ger­ous.”

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