Billy Kennedy

Texas A&M freshman Shawn Smith deemed partial qualifier by NCAA

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Texas A&M freshman Shawn Smith has been ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, Jeff Goodman of is reporting.

The ruling means that Smith will be able to practice but not play for the Aggies this season.

Smith, a 6-4, 180-pound guard from Jacksonville, Fla., was at one time or another committed to Missouri and Central Florida before choosing the Aggies. He is part of a five-man 2012 recruiting class for head coach Billy Kennedy.

Now without Smith, Texas A&M will look to newcomers J-Mychal Reese, Alex Caruso, Fabyon Harris, and Andrew Young for production.

Kennedy and the Aggies will be without second-leading scorer Khris Middleton, who has turned pro, which puts more on the shoulders of Elston Turner, who averaged 13.6 points per game last season.

The 2012-13 season also marks the first for Texas A&M in the SEC, having moved from the Big 12 in the offseason. The Aggies were chosen to finish fifth in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Texas A&M begins its season on Nov. 9 against Louisiana Tech.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, 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.