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

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.