Top-100 prospect Jalen James reportedly decommits from Illinois

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Jalen James, a 2013 guard and native of Chicago. Ill., has decommitted from Illinois, Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com is reporting.

The 6-3, 175-pound guard had been committed to the Fighting Illini for over a year, even following the firing of coach Bruce Weber, but now felt it was time to part ways.

“Jalen James will reopen his recruitment for the July evaluation period,” Illinois Wolves AAU coach Mike Mullins told CBS. “This decision was made by Jalen and his family after discussions with the new head coach John Groce. Jalen wishes the Illinois team and program well and is excited for the July period and new opportunities.”

James’ decommitment leaves Illinois with one player remaining in the Class of 2013, 6-5 guard Malcolm Hill.

Groce was hired to take over for Weber in late March, coming off of a Sweet 16 run with Ohio. The Illini finished last season with an overall record of 17-15, including 6-12 in the Big Ten.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.