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Nik Stauskas apologizes for, clarifies father’s early-entry comments


If I put together mock drafts, I would, at this point, have Nik Stauskas projected as a lottery pick.

He’s 6-foot-6, he’s athletic, he’s a lights-out shooter, he can handle the ball in the pick-and-roll, he can create off the dribble for his teammates, he can break your ankles with a cross over and go dunk on you.

Offensively, there really isn’t anything that Stauskas can’t do. Would it be nice if he was a bit quicker? Yeah, probably. Can he use some work on the defensive end of the floor? Definitely. But given the total package, I’d have a hard time finding 14 better prospects, which is kind of surprising for those that haven’t seen much of him this season. Last year, Stauskas spent the majority of his time on the floor tucked in the corner, hitting the open threes Trey Burke created for him.

Which is why the only thing that surprised me about his father’s quote to this week was the fact that, you know, he actually said it on the record.

“He knows all he has to do is keep his nose to the grindstone for another couple of months,” Stauskas’ father, Paul, told, “and there’s a really good possibility he might be able to go pro. He’s working really hard to achieve that.”

We all know that. We’ve all seen it. And only the truly naive believe that the goal for any college hooper is anything other than getting to the NBA. Also note that Stauskas’ father said there’s a “good possibility” he “might be able” to enter the draft. Nothing definitive, meaning, to me, it read more like a boastful father proud of his son than a dad announcing that his kid is entering the draft.

There was no need to Nik to apologize or clarify the comments, but he did.

“I apologize for my father’s comments, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Stauskas said after the Wednesday’s game. “I haven’t really thought anything about that yet and we’ll just address that after the season.”

If you don’t want your dad to say it, Nik, I’ll say it for him: if Nik Stauskas keeps playing the way that he has been playing since Mitch McGary went out, there’s a really good possibility that he’ll be able to go pro and get picked in the first round.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
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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
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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.