On Tuesday the Houston basketball program received the good news it has been waiting for, as the NCAA declared redshirt freshman Danrad “Chicken” Knowles eligible to play immediately. Knowles, who was a Top 100 prospect out of high school had to sit out last season for academic reasons.
“We are grateful that the NCAA has ruled quickly in Danrad’s case, and we are excited that he has been allowed to compete this season,” Houston head coach James Dickey said in the release. “I appreciate all the efforts of our administration and compliance department throughout this process. As excited as our coaches, players and fans will be with this news, no one will be more excited to hit the court than Danrad on Thursday night.”
While unable to join the program last season Knowles took classes at Houston, and he’s been working out with the team all fall. His clearance gives the Cougars another front court option, with senior TaShawn Thomas expected to lead the way. Knowles’ first opportunity to see game action will come on Thursday when the Cougars host UTSA.
Houston was picked by the coaches to finish seventh in the American Athletic Conference last month, but in Thomas and guard Danuel House the Cougars have two talented players capable of giving opponents headaches on a nightly basis.
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.
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.