Paris Lee

Illinois State freshman Paris Lee ready for expanded role

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Second-year Illinois State head coach Dan Muller has an uphill battle this season as his Redbirds squad welcomes eight new players and returns no starters from last season’s team.

This week, with the dismissal of senior guard Bryant Allen, the Redbirds are really lacking in experience as Allen was dismissed after being charged with possession of marijuana and delivery, driving on a suspended license and disregarding a stop sign.

The Redbirds will now likely look to Chicagoland product Paris Lee to fill Allen’s spot this season. Lee — a 5’11 guard from basketball powerhouse Proviso East — told the Bloomington Pantagraph that he’s ready to step in and take Allen’s place as he prepares for the IBCA All-Star Game on Saturday.

“It was real sad,” Lee told the Pantagraph. “I looked up to Bryant just like a brother because we’re both lefties. He was like a mentor figure to me. That kind of got me down. I told him I’m going to play this season out for him.”

“I’m going to show them I can pass and play real good defense and show them that I can win,” Lee also said.

If anyone can contribute on both ends of the floor immediately for Illinois State at guard it might be Lee. Lee, along with SMU recruit Sterling Brown — the younger brother of Shannon Brown — helped lead Proviso East to the 2012 state championship game and the 2013 state semifinals.

In both years, Proviso East lost to Simeon and Jabari Parker during Simeon’s quest to four consecutive Illinois state championships but Lee’s play as an on-the-ball defender and guard that can handle both spots opened eyes.

Scott also writes for NY2LA Sports and can be followed on Twitter @sphillipshoops

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.