Marquette v Miami

Marquette’s Vander Blue to enter the NBA Draft

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After much speculation, Marquette announced Tuesday that guard Vander Blue has decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft, forgoing his final season of eligibility in Milwaukee.

“I’ve had three great years here and appreciate everything Marquette has done for me during that time to help me develop,” Blue said in a statement. “At this point I want to pursue my dream. I’ve prayed about it and discussed it with my family and think this is the right decision for me at this time.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

“As a program, we are all very thankful for everything Vander has done to help our team over the last three years, but more importantly I admire the growth he has made off the floor as a person,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “He has had success in each role that he has played every year he has been here, and has continued to improve. We will always be grateful for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best in his professional career.”

Blue is an intriguing prospect for NBA teams. He’s a terrific athlete that knows how to slash to the rim, averaging 14.8 points, and he was also Marquette’s best perimeter defender this season. But he’s also a junior is college that still hasn’t developed a consistent stroke from the perimeter. His 30.3% shooting from three was his best season to date. It’s gotten better through the years, but he’s a long way from being an NBA caliber shooter, which creates a bit of an issue when he’s projected to be a shooting guard in the league.

He’s a player, however, and he also proved that he’s unafraid of the moment, as he shined during Marquette’s run to this season’s Elite 8.

Draft Express currently projects Blue as a late first round pick, but he’s listed in the 2014 draft.

As for Marquette, losing Blue will hurt. Anyone that watched them play in March and saw just how dominant Blue could be will understand that. But the Golden Eagles bring in a ton of talent on their perimeter — JaJuan Johnson, Duane Wilson, Deonte Burton — and with a front court that will return Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, among others, there are still enough pieces on the roster for Buzz to work his magic.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.