Kevin Willard

Wilbut guilty plea is more bad news for Seton Hall

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Things just will not turn around for Seton Hall. The team that came within one overtime point of a national title under P.J. Carlesimo in 1989 has been on a downward trajectory since.

The Pirates haven’t been to the Big Dance since 2006, and they’ve been through a series of coaches and various combinations of players with various combinations of on- and off-court difficulties since.

This year is no exception. The school looked forward to adding guard Jerron Wilbut to the roster next season, but that hasn’t gone so well. Pioneer Local is reporting that Wilbut was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery – a class 1 felony – in March, and that he pleaded guilty to the charge. The plea deal, somehow, just became public this week.

The long-suffering South Orange Juice blog noted that Wilbut’s plea came hard on the heels of trouble with Tom Maayan and the Israeli Defense Force, which will cost them Maayan’s services. It’s not easy being Orange these days.

It’s hard to believe that the Seton Hall coaching staff would knowingly accept a recruit who plead guilty to aggravated robbery, still a felony, after the close link between Seton Hall basketball and extra curricular activities in the past. See: Robert Mitchell & Kelly Whitney, Herb Pope after he graduated, Jeremy Hazell being shot in Harlem. The list goes on. Perhaps the staff wasn’t fully aware of Jerron’s legal situation. Maybe our information was incorrect.

A few months back, we were all excited about a Wilbut/Aquille Carr backcourt in South Orange. Now Carr may be playing pro in China and Wilbut’s status is in serious doubt.

Kevin Willard must be feeling like Charlie Brown in the Peanuts Halloween Special. “I got a rock.”

But hey, at least they still have Rutgers.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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.