DeSales' Matt Poorman still getting back into swing of things

Matt Poorman walked into DeSales' Billera Hall last fall, sat on a chair and watched practice.

He repeated it for every practice and every game during the Bulldogs' 2011-12 season.

It was torture, but it was all the 6-foot-5 guard from Stroudsburg could do. Back surgery to repair a herniated disc took away his ability do much of anything last season.

"It definitely was not a lot of fun missing the whole year," he said. "I was in a lot of pain, but it was good to be around the team for the most part."

Poorman is back to walking into Billera Hall, lacing up his sneakers and breaking a sweat, but he is not where he was before the back problem put him on the shelf.

The junior has played in nine of DeSales' 15 games, including three starts, but his statistics are not what they were when he played in all 29 games as a freshman.

Coach Scott Coval said that is expected after major surgery, but not easy to go through.

"These guys have been playing their whole lives and then, all of a sudden, they can't play," the DeSales coach said. "He's only a year [removed] from having major back surgery.

"He's a very skilled played, but I don't think he's even close to where he was a freshman."

Poorman may be struggling mentally with the process of the last two seasons, but he's not letting it deter him from being a good teammate — or a good student.

In fact, most college students would love to have the biology major's academic stats: 25 classes at DeSales, 22 'A's, 3 'A'-minuses.

That's a 3.96 grade point average, folks.

The junior is hoping to get into medical school after graduating from DeSales, and eventually working in orthopedics or sports medicine.

"It's something I've dealt with and think I would really like to help other people get better," he said.

Poorman originally hurt his back in between his junior and senior seasons at Stroudsburg High, but was able to work through it enough to have stellar seasons on the soccer field and basketball court.

He was an integral part of the Mounties' run to a District 11 Class 3A soccer title and a 20-4 season. He then averaged 15.6 points per game for coach Shawn Thorton's basketball team.

But Poorman made his choice of sports long before his senior season. He stopped playing club soccer in his sophomore season and opted for AAU basketball instead.

"I loved soccer and what we were able to accomplish my senior year," he said. "But I always knew I wanted to play college basketball."

It is why it was so hard for him to just watch from the sidelines last season and not yet have his basketball skill set back at 100 percent so far this year.

But Coval is confident Poorman will get there because of the junior's passion and work ethic.

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