Austin Chatman, Johnny Hill

Illinois State sophomore guard Johnny Hill to transfer

Leave a comment

The number of players who have decided to transfer from Illinois State since the end of the season has now reached four players, as it was reported by multiple outlets on Thursday that sophomore guard Johnny Hill’s request to be released from his scholarship has been granted.

Hill started 26 of the Redbirds’ 33 games, averaging 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. After sitting out the 2013-14 season Hill will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

With Hill’s decision to leave the program head coach Dan Muller will retain just one of his top six scorers from the 2012-13 season: rising senior guard Bryant Allen (8.6 ppg).

Leading scorers Tyler Brown (18.1 ppg) and Jackie Carmichael (17.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg) are both out of eligibility, as is forward John Wilkins (6.7 ppg).

Of the four players who have decided to transfer since the end of the season Hill and forward John Ekey (6.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg; transferring to Illinois) were the ones who saw the most playing time. Also transferring are center Jordan Threloff (Northern Illinois) and Zeke Upshaw.

With the many changes in regards to both players leaving and the five newcomers (three of whom are guards), Hill ultimately decided that he was better off finishing his career at another program.

“There have been a lot of changes going on and that has gotten me toward the decision I made,” Hill told Jim Benson of the Bloomington Pantagraph.

“I really did like ISU. There’s been a bunch of changes and some I wasn’t expecting. After talking with my family we thought this was the best decision.”

Illinois State finished the 2012-13 season with an 18-15 record, going 8-10 in Missouri Valley play and reaching the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Redbirds’ season ended with a 66-51 loss to Wichita State.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Leave a comment

Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)

After blowout of South Carolina, is No. 22 Kentucky a Final Four contender?

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) guards the ball after a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 75-70. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Leave a comment

It only took 2:26 for official Doug Sirmons to plant two technical fouls on Kentucky head coach John Calipari, and that may have been the worst thing that could have happened to South Carolina.

He poked the bear, and the result was that a ticked off No. 22 Wildcat team proceeded to run the Gamecocks out of their own gym, 89-62.

The star of the show was interim head coach Tyler Ulis, who put together as dominating of a performance as you’ll ever see out of a player that stands 5-foot-9. Ulis finished with 27 points and 12 assists, hitting 4-for-8 from three and turning the ball over just once.

Marcus Lee added 11 points and 13 boards, including six on the offensive end, and Jamal Murray had his customary 26 points on 9-for-21 shooting, but the story of this game was Ulis.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seed a player under 6-foot capable of dominating a game the way that Ulis can dominate. Murray can take over with the best of them — we saw it against Florida and Ohio State — but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, this Kentucky team will go as far as Ulis carries them.

And based on the way that he’s played in the last six weeks, that could end up being pretty far. In SEC play, Ulis is averaging 19.4 points and 7.6 assists. He’s scored at least 17 points in 12 of the last 14 games and has notched as least five assists in all 14. He just orchestrated a total mollywhopping of a Frank Martin-coached team that was tied for first place in the SEC while playing without his head coach and on the road.

The issue with Kentucky is the same today as it was a month ago. They’re a two-man team with an inconsistent supporting cast. When their two studs play like this, they can beat anyone in the country. When they don’t, they can struggle against anyone.

But here’s the thing: When Ulis is playing the way that he’s played of late, they don’t really need all that much from their supporting cast. Derek Willis needs to be able to space the floor. Lee and Skal Labissiere need to be able to hold their own against opposing big men.

And when that happens?

Kentucky is clearly the best team in the SEC and good enough to be able to win four straight in the Big Dance and get to a Final Four.