Several members of Arizona had decisions to make regarding their future following a season that ended with an appearance in the Elite 8.
While Kaleb Tarczewski, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley announced they would all return to school, giving the Wildcats another talented front court next season, starters Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson declared for the 2014 NBA Draft.
For the 6-foot-9 Gordon this had been an expected since he arrived on campus as one of the more talked about freshmen in the country. In his lone collegiate season, Gordon averaged 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. He is projected as the No. 8 overall pick according to DraftExpress.com.
MORE: The entire list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft
Johnson will forgo his senior season after being named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year and a second team All-American, leading Arizona in scoring at 16.3 points in addition to his 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Despite his success this season and improvement made in his career, Johnson is on the outside looking in as far as the first round is concerned. He’s currently projected as the No. 48 overall pick by Draft Express.
“He’s made a meteoric improvement across the board in his time at Arizona, and that stems from his unbelievable attitude. Nick, his family and our staff came together and we think it’s appropriate that he moves on to the next level,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday. “When you’re a first-team All-American, it speaks volumes to your talent. He leaves Arizona with my complete support and I have no doubt that he’s going to be successful at the next level.”
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.