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Marquette receives verbal commitment from 2014 forward Malek Harris

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With a talented five-member recruiting class joining the program this summer, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams has the pieces needed to contend for a Big East title. On Wednesday, the Marquette program landed its first verbal commitment in the 2014 class.

6-7 combo forward Malek Harris (Orland Park, Ill.) verbally committed to attend Marquette (subscription required), as first reported by Eric Bossi of Harris would later announce the news himself via Twitter.

Harris can be a factor at either forward position due to his size and skill, and his versatility is a trait that has been of high value at Marquette during Williams’ tenure as head coach.

Harris made the decision while on an unofficial visit to Marquette, which made landing Harris a priority throughout the recruiting process. In an interview with Scott Burgess of Chicago Hoops, Harris noted Williams’ straightforward nature in discussing why he committed to Marquette.

“I chose MU because I love it.  I had a gut feeling about it from the start, but I really wanted to get down here and sit down face to face with Buzz (Williams).  He didn’t sell me a dream.  He told me the truth.  I can’t wait for him to be my future head coach!”

Harris could potentially join a front court in 2014 that includes 2013 newcomers Deonte Burton and Jameel McKay, not to mention returnees Juan Anderson and Steve Taylor Jr. That’s not a bad group to have if you’re Marquette.

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.
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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
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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.