It’s a bittersweet day for coach Barry Hinson.
While Southern Illinois announced in a release that the Salukis will get back Diamond Taylor on Jan. 15 after he spent the first half of the season suspended following a DUI arrest on Sept. 22, the program also announced that sophomore Antonio Bryer is leaving the team and will transfer at the end of the spring semester.
Bryer, a 6-6 sophomore, averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in nine games this season. He left the team briefly earlier this season but returned. As a freshman, the Norview. Va. native played in 12 games and scored six total points. It’s kind of obvious he’s probably looking for more playing time, at least on the surface.
Taylor, on the other hand, is bigger news. The junior guard averaged 4.3 points in 14 minutes per game last season. He’ll be a key back-up to guards Kendal Brown-Surles and Jeff Early for the Missouri Valley Conference slate in a league where depth is key.
Bryer leaving is a major blow to the depth of SIU, but nothing they can’t overcome. But Taylor is a welcome addition for Hinson and the Salukis.
David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.
Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.
“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”
The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.
What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.
The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.
Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.
Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.
Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.