NCAA Men's Final Four - Championship

UConn center Amida Brimah to undergo shoulder surgery

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UConn freshman center Amida Brimah may not have put up sparkling numbers during the Huskies’ march to the national title, but if not for his three-point play in the final minute of regulation against Saint Joseph’s there would have been nets to cut down. Brimah arrived on campus a bit raw but there were flashes in 2013-14, most notably his 20-point, eight-rebound, five-block performance in a win over UCF in January.

An offseason to further hone his skills would certainly benefit Brimah, who will be asked to do more as a sophomore. But the amount of time Brimah will have to work on his game may be limited, as it was reported by Dave Borges of the New Haven Register Wednesday that the center will need to undergo surgery on his left shoulder.

Thursday morning UConn confirmed the report, announcing that Brimah will be operated on Friday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The estimated time for recovery is four to five months, according to UConn.

It’s good for Brimah and UConn that this is something that will be handled during the offseason. But how much basketball skill work will Brimah be able to do following his recovery? The answer to that question will impact just how much better Brimah is when the season begins.

In the front court UConn will return all of its key contributors next season, with DeAndre Daniels (NBA?) and Philip Nolan both having eligibility remaining. And there’s also rising sophomore Kentan Facey, who couldn’t crack the rotation after finally being cleared by the NCAA. UConn will also add Rakeem Lubin, a 6-foot-8 forward.

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.