Jok ‘family reunion’ highlights Penn’s game at Iowa

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When the Penn Quakers take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday night there will be two reunions of sorts at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery will be coaching against his alma mater, and the Jok brothers will be on the same court for the first time at the college level.

Dau’s a senior guard at Penn and Peter’s a freshman wing at Iowa, and the matchup is notable based upon what they and their family had to endure to reach this point. The Jok family escaped from the Southern Sudan after their father, a general in the People’s Liberation Army, was murdered.

According to Dave Zeitlin of CSN Philly, at least 40 family members are expected to be in attendance tonight. To say the least, neither Jok brother expected that they would one day have the opportunity to play against each other.

“It’s incredible,” said Dau, shaking his head in disbelief, shortly before departing for Iowa with his Penn teammates. “It’s a blessing, man.”

“It’s crazy,” Peter told reporters in Iowa. “I never thought I would get to play him. But it is a great opportunity at the end of the day, so I’m just looking to take advantage of that.”

Dau created the Dut Jok Youth Foundation (named for his late father) in hopes of helping Southern Sudanese children, with the goal being to provide the youth with the resources and opportunities (both athletic and academic) needed to stop the cycle of violence that has plagued the nation for years.

Dau has played just eight minutes in three games this season for the Quakers, averaging one point and one rebound per game. Peter’s seen more action at Iowa, playing just over 18 minutes per game and posting averages of 9.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. But while bragging rights will be on the line, more importantly Dau and Peter can use the night to celebrate how far they’ve come.

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.