Joel James

Joel James inactive for North Carolina Saturday vs. Virginia due to concussion

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North Carolina freshman Joel James has not been cleared to play and will be unavailable for the Tar Heels when they take on Virginia, the school announced Saturday.

James missed North Carolina’s game Wednesday against Duke, a 73-68 loss at Cameron Indoor. According to the school, he suffered a blow to the head on Feb. 5 in North Carolina’s win over Wake Forest, but did not tell team trainers of his symptoms until Monday. In the mean time, he played nine minutes in a loss to Miami.

On the year, the 6-10, 260-pound James is averaging 2.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in just over 11 minutes per game. His best game of the season came Nov. 11 against Florida Atlantic when he scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Without James available against Duke, North Carolina went with a much smaller lineup, essentially keeping to a six-man rotation with James Michael McAdoo as the lone interior presence.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.