Jon Severe—Fordham University’s talented, yet, at times, enigmatic guard—has taken a leave of absence and is out indefinitely. In a statement emailed to the media Saturday, the school said Severe would take the leave "to address personal issues."
Severe, who averaged 17.3 points per game as a freshman, was suspended six days before the Rams’ opener due to a violation of team rules. As a result, he missed Fordham’s first game. When he returned, he played just 39 minutes in three games and scored only five points.
“We will continue to support Jon as he addresses some personal issues off the court,” Fordham head coach Tom Pecora said in the email from the school. “We wish him and his family all the best during this process and hope that everyone will respect their privacy.”
Fordham was 0-3 with Severe in the lineup. After losing to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), 72-66, Saturday at the Rose Hill Gym, its 1-1 without him.
On first thought, no one would say that the Rams are a better team without Severe. But with him, they struggled. And with Severe taking a leave, this break could be what's best for him and the team. At least, that's what Fordham might be hoping is the case.
Meanwhile, Fordham took to the court Saturday in desperate need of a win after an unfathomable loss to the University of Massachusetts Lowell last Sunday.
The Rams were down at the half, 32-26, and UMES increased its lead to 46-34 early in the second.
But then Fordham began its biggest and most important surge of the season, outscoring the Hawks 14-4 to cut the lead to two, 50-48, with 10:48 to go. UMES would go back up by six, and after Fordham got it back down to two, 55-53, with 7:46 left, the Hawks increased their lead to eight.
The Rams had another comeback in them, and they again trailed by just two with 2:46 left thanks to an Eric Paschall layup and made free throw.
Fordham had the ball down by three with 1:03 to go, but Mandell Thomas' attempt in the lane was blocked. With 45 seconds left, UMES had possession and, as it turned out, the game. They scored five unanswered points to seal the win.
"Men against boys for a good portion of the game, especially in the first half," was how Pecora described it in his postgame comments. "You look at turnovers and you look at free throws missed...I think that's where the game was lost."
Fordham turned the ball over 20 times and made just 64.5 percent of its free throws.
There's work to be done on the defensive end as well.
"Our defensive intensity wasn't there in the first half," Pecora said. "In the second half, we caused a few more turnovers to try to get some easy baskets."
Pecora also said that his team continues to take too many three-pointers (Fordham was 4-of-17 from beyond the arc), calling it another sign of the Rams' youth.
"We just look really young, and we are," he said. "I would say for 90 percent of this game, we had three freshmen on the floor. But that's the way it's going to be. We need more from the veterans."
Pecora maintained it was a better effort than last Sunday, but acknowledged it wasn't good enough to get the win.
"It came down to little things that could really turn the game around for us," he said. "We dug ourselves a hole and expended a lot of energy getting back into the game and never got over the top."
Paschall led the way with 25 points, Thomas chipped in with 13 and Antwoine Anderson scored 10 with a team-high five assists.
Unless otherwise noted, quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.