Illinois State v Louisville

Jon Ekey to transfer from Illinois State

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Illinois State forward Jon Ekey will transfer from the school.

The news came from The Pantagraph’s Jim Benson. Ekey was one of the Redbirds’ top forwards, teaming with Jackie Carmichael up front.

Ekey, who will be a senior next season, averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds this year for Illinois State. He’ll have one season of eligibility remaining and it’s unclear if he’s eligible for the graduate transfer waiver. He’s been at Illinois State the past four years, redshirting as a freshman during the 2009-10 season. If I had to bet money, I’d say he will be eligible for said graduate transfer waiver. If not, he’ll be headed to a non-NCAA Division I school of his choice.

The 6-7 Ekey’s scoring production dropped this season — going from nine points per game last season to just over six — but his rebounding prowess has stayed the same his entire career. The Independence, Mo. native has averaged at least four boards per game all three seasons he’s played. He played in 33 games, starting 18 this season.

Ekey scored in double figures just once after the turn of the new year, an 11-point performance in a loss at Bradley. He scored in double figures in nine of the teams’ first 13 games this year.

With Carmichael, leading scorer Tyler Brown and John Wilkins — who averaged 6.7 points per game — all exhausting their eligibility, this is a serious blow to the Redbirds hopes next season. Ekey would no doubt be one of the premiere forwards for Illinois State and a senior leader. Johnny Hill (7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds,  49.4-percent field goal percentage) and Allen Bryant (8.6 points, 47-of-152 on threes) return next year, but Ekey would’ve most likely started up front.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.