Kelly Oubre: “UConn is coming at me the hardest”

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HAMPTON, Va. — When playing on a team that includes Justise Winslow, Justin Jackson and Khadeem Lattin, getting noticed isn’t the easiest thing to do.

But through three games at the Nike EYBL Hampton, Kelly Oubre hasn’t had that problem. The athletic, 6-foot-6 wing is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 boards and 2.7 assists while hitting 40% from beyond the arc.

It’s enough that Oubre has climbed to No. 27 in the latest Rivals top 150 and has gotten offers from “all the big schools”, including the likes of Georgetown, Arizona and UCLA. Kansas,¬†Alabama, and Baylor are the schools that have made in-home visits.

There is one school, however, that has stood out for the Richmond, TX, native.

“UConn is coming at me the hardest,” Oubre said. “As of right now, I’m really starting to get serious into my recruiting process. And the more people call me, the more serious I’m going to start settling down and thinking about it.”

And what will you be thinking about?

“The atmosphere. The coaching staff. The fanbase. The offense, most definitely,” Oubre said. But perhaps most importantly, Oubre is looking for a program with a coaching staff that’s going to help to fulfill his potential.

“Whoever is going to push me to be the best that I can be and get me to where I want to go,” he said.

To do that, Oubre is going to have to work on his all-around game. Right now, the left-handed Oubre is best known for his athleticism and for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. But if he’s going to live up to the hype of being a top 30 player in the Class of 2014, he’s going to have to fill out the rest of his game, in particular his ball-handling.

“I can dribble up the court, I can do whatever my coach needs me to do, but I wanna be strong with it and keep getting stronger,” Oubre said.

Getting stronger off the bounce will help keep defenses honest, and with his size and athleticism, having the handle to beat a defender off the dribble should allow Oubre to get to the free throw line at will. As that part of his game develops, he’s only going to get better.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Oubre will always be a jump shooter first.

“That’s my game,” he said. “I feed off of that.”

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.