French basketball player and projected first-round draft pick Johnathan Jeanne was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome Thursday. Jeanne is currently under contract with Le Mans Sarthe, a French team, and is on loan to SLUC Nancy.
“This diagnosis may end his career,” Dr. Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University, said. “Patients suffering from Marfan syndrome can have heart, heart valve, or even blood vessel issues. All of these can be life threatening, especially in stressful and strenuous conditions, such as basketball.”
Isaiah Austin, a former likely first-round product as well from Baylor University, is the only other player of note to suffer from the same syndrome. Austin received the news just prior to the 2014 draft, and was just finally cleared for basketball activities in 2016. Thus, for Jeanne, the diagnosis is devastating. For a product born in the little known French overseas property Guadeloupe, Jeanne’s entire legacy has hinged on basketball. Now, with the unfortunate diagnosis of Marfan syndrome, Jeanne may never step foot on the court again.
Draft-wise, Jeanne’s diagnosis should lead to disappear from most draft boards, perhaps at best remaining on as a late second-round pick. It should also boost the stock of fellow big men viewed as projects, such as Duke’s Harry Giles and North Carolina’s Tony Bradley, two highly-recruited players who flashed potential in limited minutes.
Although viewed as a developmental project, Jeanne has intrigued NBA front offices with his natural length. Measured at 7’2 shoeless, Jeanne also boasts an impressive 7’7 wingspan and fits the bill of the modern day big man.
Jeanne can bring the ball up in full-court scenarios, has range from the NBA 3-point line, and can also surprise defenders with the occasional jump shot off the dribble.
However, what has held Jeanne back prior to the diagnosis is both his frail stature, as he weighs only 207 pounds as per the NBA combine, and has only limited playing experience.
Jeanne’s Marfan syndrome may completely end all of his professional basketball hopes.
This season, Jeanne was averaging 13.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game before the diagnosis.