La Salle lands a point guard in Philadelphia product Amar Stukes

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For the first time in 27 years, La Salle has landed a basketball product from La Salle High School as point guard Amar Stukes committed to the program earlier this week.

A 6-1, 165-pound guard, Stukes was also considering Drexel, Fairfield and Binghamton, and his commitment makes it three Division I products in the last three years for La Salle High School.

Stukes’ classmate Steve Smith is headed to Fairfield, and 2011 guard Eddie Mitchell is entering his sophomore season at Rider.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer it was a close call for Stukes between the Explorers and fellow Philadelphia school Drexel, with the Dragons’ recent success sticking out in his mind.

But the allure of the Big 5, a storied city rivalry that La Salle is a part of (Penn, Temple, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova being the others), ultimately won over the La Salle High product.

For Stukes, the chance to play at home in front of family and friends was simply the icing on the cake. Taking part in a tradition as rich as the Big 5 was the only selling point Stukes needed.

“I’m glad that I will be getting a chance to play so close to home in front of my family, but really, I am really excited to play for Coach G [La Salle head coach John Giannini] in the Big 5,” Stukes said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Some of the best basketball players, not just to come out of this city but to play in the NBA, played for a Big 5 school. To me, that was really what got me.”

Ramon Galloway is a senior this season but point guard Tyreek Duren will be a senior when Stukes is a freshman, meaning that he’ll be able to spend that year learning from one of the best point guards in the Atlantic 10.

Stukes also noted the need for him to add some muscle to his slender build this season to better prepare himself for college basketball.

Photo credit: Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.