John Groce

Illinois lands 2015 commitment from four-star guard Aaron Jordan

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John Groce and his Illinois Fighting Illini got more than just a 75-55 win over Penn State on Saturday afternoon. He also added to his 2015 recruiting class.

Plainfield East High (Ill.) junior shooting guard Aaron Jordan told Groce he had made his committed to Illinois on Saturday, according to Marcus Jackson of the News-Gazette.

The 6-foot-4 guard is a four-start shooting guard, ranked as the No. 60 overall recruit in the Class of 2015 by Rivals. He held offers Creighton, Indiana, La Salle, Northwestern and Wisconsin before deciding to end his recruitment early. He is the second four-star recruit in the Illini’s 2015 class. Simeon Career Academy (Ill.) junior small forward D.J. Williams became the first back in early November.

“I just felt the time was right; it was Legend’s Day at Illinois and all the Flyin’ Illini were there, and it just felt right to do it,” Jordan told the Chicago Tribune on Saturday after announcing his commitment. “I went through the whole process, and at the end of the day, Illinois was the one. It’s close to home, I grew up in Illinois. It’s home.

“I’m really excited,” Jordan said. “Coach (Groce) wasn’t expecting me to commit. I wanted to get it over with. He was very happy.”

Back court depth is something Illinois will have plenty of moving forward. Rayvonte Rice, Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand, Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill and Jaylon Tate are all averaging more than 10 minutes a game. And while Rice, Abrams, Bertrand and Oregon State transfer Ahmad Starks will run out of eligibility by the time Jordan steps on the Champaign campus, Nunn, Hill and Tate will still be there as well as Seton Hall transfer Aaron Crosby.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.