Tarik Back, Marc Sonnen

Memphis power forward Tarik Black returns to practice

Leave a comment

Just two days after leaving practice and missing Memphis’ win over UT-Martin on Thursday night, junior power forward Tarik Black made his return to practice on Friday according to multiple media outlets.

Black, who is averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, was given time to figure things out according to head coach Josh Pastner and it seems as if Black has done that.

Memphis shot 52.2% from the field in their 93-65 win over UT-Martin, with Shaq Goodwin putting up 17 points and 12 rebounds, but even with that result the Tigers will need Black in order to reach their full potential. And Black will need to be ready to do that, both physically and mentally.

“It was a buildup of things, just being honest. I’m not one for really complaining or stressing my issues and things that are on my mind,” Black said. “That can be a blessing, because that’s a leadership quality. You have to endure things, keep pushing, keep moving and keep motivating.

“But at the same time, it can also be a burden because you go home everyday and you’re the one that’s dealing with something and nobody else knows. … At some point, I’m only human, so it’s going to come out. It just so happened that after this three-year period it came out.”

In the days following Memphis’ 1-2 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis the Tigers went through some tough practices and according to reports Black didn’t respond well, triggering the decision to hold him out of Thursday’s game.

While Memphis UT-Martin without Black they’ll clearly need the junior at his best not only when they take on the likes of Louisville (December 15) and Tennessee (January 4), but also if they’re to accomplish anything of note in March.

Memphis hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game during Pastner’s tenure, and given the talent at his disposal fans are expecting more in 2012-13. Such hopes can be torpedoed by having to deal with issues such as this one, so if anything it’s good that Black had this problem in late November instead of later in the season.

A preseason All-Conference USA selection, Black is expected to be one of the leaders for a Memphis team that in addition to its upperclassmen is also expecting contributions from sophomore Adonis Thomas and freshman Shaq Goodwin. For Memphis’ sake hopefully this is the last time they have to deal with this kind of an issue.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report 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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.