Report: Syracuse eyeing Memphis transfer Antonio Barton

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Syracuse has emerged as a potential destination for Memphis transfer Antonio Barton, according to a report from Syracuse.com.

Barton, the younger brother of Will Barton, spent three years playing for the Tigers, but after averaging 8.2 points in just under 25 minutes as a freshman, Barton has seen his minutes get cut significantly in the last two seasons. Injuries have played a role in that, as Barton missed much of last season. But with Joe Jackson continuing to develop, and with the emergence of Chris Crawford and the addition of Geron Johnson, there just wasn’t many minutes available for Barton to play.

Barton is on track to graduate this June, which would allow him to play immediately wherever he ends up. And while Barton has reportedly had more than two dozen schools reach out to him, Syracuse seems like it would be a good fit for both sides.

The 6-foot-2 Barton likely wouldn’t be a starter for the Orange, not with heralded recruit Tyler Ennis entering the program. But he would be the only other point guard on the roster, as sophomore Trevor Cooney, Duke transfer Michael Gbinije and freshman Ron Patterson are all off-guards. A veteran presence could help ease the transition from high school ball to the ACC for Ennis, and it would be nice for head coach Jim Boeheim to avoid having to play his back court out of position to give Ennis a rest.

There’s also a connection to the program: Barton played AAU ball with fellow Baltimore native CJ Fair, and Fair played with Will at Brewster Academy.

“He likes Syracuse’s system and their style of play,’’ Barton’s mother told Mike Waters, although he has yet to visit the school as he is focusing on graduating from Memphis on time. “It’s just a matter of getting to Syracuse and sitting down with Coach Boeheim and the Syracuse staff and seeing what they expect of him.’’

Would Barton be OK with once again accepting a role as a back-up?

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.