Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon-Journal

Akron announces reinstatement of forward Quincy Diggs

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Before the start of the 2012-13 season, Akron head coach Keith Dambrot announced that 6-6 forward Quincy Diggs was suspended for the entire year due to a violation of the school’s Code of Student Conduct.

Even with the return of key figures like center Zeke Marshall this was seen as an important loss for the Zips, as Diggs was coming off of a season in which he averaged 8.5 points per game and won MAC Sixth Man of the Year honors.

On Wednesday the university issued a statement announcing that the senior has been reinstated and will play for the Zips in 2013-14. Diggs rejoins a roster that still has rising seniors Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell.

There are two questions for Akron as they work towards the start of practices in October: how will they account for the graduation of Marshall, and how much can rising sophomore Carmelo Betancourt progress at the point.

Betancourt played in 33 games as a freshman but saw his minutes increase when incumbent Alex Abreu ended up in legal trouble. In seven of Akron’s final eight games Betancourt played double-digit minutes (including a season-high 31 minutes in their NCAA tournament loss to VCU), and in those eight games he accounted for 21 assists and 17 turnovers.

The addition of Diggs gives Akron some more experience in the front court, which will also include 6-11 center Pat Forsythe (3.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and two newcomers in Kwan Cheatham and Isaiah Johnson.

But if Akron is to return to the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four years, the Zips will need Betancourt to have an impact.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.