UNC Wilmington Old Dominion Basketball

Appeal denial ends ODU guard Donte Hill’s college career


Two months after learning that his initial appeal of the decision that cost him a season of eligibility was denied, Old Dominion guard Donte Hill’s final appeal has met the same fate as announced by the ODU athletic department.

That means Hill, who averaged 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season, has played his final game as a Monarch. The issue that cost Hill a season of eligibility was his playing in a closed scrimmage at Clemson just before deciding to transfer to ODU in 2010. Hill played eight minutes in that scrimmage, and they turned out to be a costly eight minutes at that.

“I am very disappointed by the NCAA’s decision to deny my appeal, as I was hopeful there would have been reconsideration for my case, I am very appreciative of the efforts on my behalf by Old Dominion,” said Hill in the release. “I enjoyed my time here and I will be a Monarch forever.”

Rules certainly have to be followed, but this ruling seems very harsh. In a climate of enforcement that has “successfully” managed to confuse the very adults asked to make sure their schools are compliant with NCAA rules, we’re to expect a student-athlete to automatically know that playing in a scrimmage could potentially cost him a full season of eligibility?

A similar situation involving former Montana State forward Mohamed Fall occurred last spring, when his playing in two junior college showcases counted as a full season due to the fact that he turned 21 before enrolling at the Big Sky school.

If the powers that be want to hold out an “offending” party for a few games as a trade-off for being allowed to play their senior seasons, then fine. Not exactly ideal, but at least a player like Hill or Fall would be able to finish their careers on the court.

But taking away a player’s entire season over eight minutes? As many pointed out back in June when the initial decision regarding Hill’s status was made, the NCAA has far bigger fish to fry. Or at least they should.

On the bright side, at least Hill leaves ODU with his degree.

“Obviously, this news is extremely disappointing to our staff and team and of course to  Donte,”  ODU head coach Jeff Jones said. “He had a short, but successful career at ODU and more importantly has his sociology degree from the university.

“Donte is a great representative of the ideals the NCAA encourages in its student athletes. We know Donte has a bright future ahead of him.”

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.