2014 shooting guard Brandone Francis commits to Florida

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With Jaquan Lyle verbally committing to attend Louisville on Wednesday, many felt that decision would impact the thinking of Jacksonville, Fla. (Arlington Country Day) shooting guard Brandone Francis.

On Thursday Francis made his decision, with it being reported by multiple outlets that he has verbally committed to attend Florida.

Francis, a Top 30 prospect in the eyes of many scouting services, joins point guard Chris Chiozza in Billy Donovan’s 2014 recruiting class. Whether the Gators have two or three newcomers on the perimeter in 2014 depends on the status of Rutgers transfer Eli Carter, who may pursue a waiver to be eligible to play immediately based on the circumstances surrounding his decision to transfer.

In recent weeks Louisville and Florida emerged as the two programs pursuing Francis the hardest, with the guard rising up the rankings due to his play in the spring. Francis’ versatility will allow coach Donovan to use him in a variety of ways once he arrives in Gainesville.

After the 2013-14 season the Gators will lose guard Scottie Wilbekin and wing Casey Prather, and that doesn’t account for possible early departures to the NBA (Kasey Hill?), so landing Francis is certainly a positive development for the program.

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.