Appalachian State forward running shoe drive in exchange for tickets

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An Appalachian State sophomore forward has put together one of the best ticket drives I can remember.

Michael Obacha is a native of Nigeria, and throughout the rest of the reason, he will be running a charity drive to get shoes to ship back to his country.

“One of the main things I want to do is put a smile on the face of every child who gets shoes,” Obacha said in a statement from the Athletics Department. “We often take our blessings for granted, but something as simple as a new pair of shoes brings so much joy to these children and allows them to play the game they love.”

Fans that bring a pair of shoes to any of Appalachian State’s home games the rest of the season will be given a pair of tickets for free. Shipping isn’t free, however, so in addition to the 500 pairs of shoes that Obacha is trying to raise, he also needs to generate about $2,500 to pay the cost of transporting the shoes across the Atlantic Ocean.

If you would like to contribute, you can donate money through the Access 2 Success foundation, which was founded by Andrew Lovedale, another native Nigerian and a former teammate of Steph Curry’s at Davidson.

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.