Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte v Richmond

2014 shooting guard Keyshawn Woods commits to Charlotte

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Charlotte head coach Alan Major landed his first commitment in the 2014 class, and he didn’t have to travel far in order to do so either.

As first reported by Justin Byerly, Northside Christian H.S. (Charlotte, N.C.) shooting guard Keyshawn Woods verbally committed to attend the Conference USA school. The 6-4 Woods helped lead Northside Christian to a class 2A state title this past season, earning NCISAA all-state honors (as did teammate James Demery, who like Woods is a 2014 prospect).

Woods will join a program that in 2013 begins its second stint in Conference USA, returning to the league after spending the past seven years in the Atlantic 10. Major’s 49ers finished the 2012-13 season with a 21-12 record (8-8 Atlantic 10), falling to Providence in the first round of the Postseason NIT.

Charlotte will have to account for the departure of forward Chris Braswell, but they do welcome back guard Pierra Henry (10.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and forward Willie Clayton (8.5, 6.2).

In regards to the position Woods will play at the next level, Charlotte’s most experienced returnees at shooting guard in 2013-14 are Terrence Williams (7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and Ivan Benkovic (2.6 ppg), with both players failing to shoot better than 40% from the field last season. However, Benkovic did manage to make 40.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, making 23 three-pointers on the season.

Both will have eligibility remaining when the 2014-15 season rolls around, meaning that Woods will not lack for competition at shooting guard when he arrives on campus. And with Charlotte still having a few scholarships remaining (three, to be exact), it’s likely that Woods won’t be the only newcomer in his class.

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
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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.