A memorial for Monica Quan at Titan Gym (via @AbbeyMastracco) h/t Yahoo's The Dagger.

Fullerton Titans honor fallen coach in emotional home game

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Odds are, nobody at Cal State Fullerton was quite ready to get back to playing basketball yet.

Women’s basketball assistant coach Monica Quan and her fiance were murdered just six days prior to Saturday’s home game against UC-Riverside, and the feelings in the building were still very raw. The game could likely have been canceled. Nobody would have blamed the Fullerton family for taking a little while longer to grieve. But the t-shirts the young women wore pointed to another way of honoring the fallen coach. They said “it is the courage to continue that counts.”

It’s a concept that coaches teach athletes: that fatigue and pain can be endured and overcome. That they must be overcome, on and off the court. A pretty tough thing to live up to in a situation like this.

Fullerton guard Alex Thomas lapsed into the present tense when she attempted to describe how Quan would have reacted to the understandable 64-45 loss the Titans suffered in their first game back after the tragedy:

“She’s way big on the little things and the details,” Thomas told the Associated Press. “And today we didn’t really take of the details the way we know we should have. She would have been proud of our effort, proud of us coming out and being there and trying to stay focused. But she definitely would have wanted us to pay attention to the little things more.”

Getting up and getting going again is part of the stage of grief called “acceptance,” and it’s probably a little too soon for that in this case. Fullerton head coach Marcia Foster confirmed that everyone in the locker room was still somewhat in shock. “I don’t think anybody feels like they’re healing right now. We feel like we’re just getting through.”

College Basketball Talk salutes the Fullerton basketball community. Win or lose, the Titans are honoring someone they loved and lost by playing the game she taught them to play. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

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.