Jim Whitesell

Saint Louis promotes assistant Jim Whitesell to associate head coach

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Jim Whitesell, an Iowa native who has served under Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus for one season, has been promoted to associate head coach, the school confirmed Thursday.

“He’s extraordinarily committed,” Majerus told STLToday.com. “He’d make me go to bed after a game and when I woke up, he’d have a tape made and 20 bullet points to look at and address. It got to a point, I wouldn’t look at them ahead of time because I wanted to do my own work and compare.

“He’s dedicated, a good coach, the players respect him, he’s a balance to me,” Majerus continued. “We’re a good team together. He’s an exceptionally hard worker. He loves it. He considers it honor and privilege (to coach) like I do. He loves the challenge, loves the chase.”

Whitesell worked primarily with post players this past season with the Billikens, but now becomes Majerus’ clear second-in-command and someone who can make an impact in recruiting.

“He’s the top assistant coach, that’s definitive,” Majerus said. “He’s the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, the special team guy, the sideline outs. Not to detract from (Jim) Crews or Tanner (Bronson), Jim has got total responsibility for every aspect of the program. Others have aspects for specific parts.”

The Billikens finished 26-8 last season, including 12-4 in the A-10 and advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament.

Prior to his time at Saint Louis, Whitesell coached at Loyola Chicago, Lewis (Ill.) College, and Elmhurst (Ill.) College.

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.