St. John’s added a key addition to their frontcourt on Monday as junior college forward Keith Thomas, the nation’s leading rebounder in the junior college ranks last season, committed to the Red Storm. Thomas announced his decision via his Facebook page and choose St. John’s over his other finalists of Loyola (Chicago) and Fordham.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Thomas averaged 15.3 points and 15.7 rebounds last season at Westchester Community College in New York and has at least two years of eligibility remaining, if not three.
According to Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog, Thomas can potentially get a third year of eligibility.
“Yeah, it’s possible if the paperwork goes in right, it’s possible to have three years,” Thomas said to Zagoria.
At the very least, Thomas can give the Red Storm an added interior presence as Steve Lavin’s team returns one of the nation’s leading shot blockers in sophomore Chris Obekpa and redshirt sophomore Christian Jones. St. John’s also added a commitment from high school big man Adonis Delarosa earlier this spring.
With D’Angelo Harrison and Rysheed Jordan both returning in the backcourt, St. John’s now has solid role guys up front in Obekpa (interior defense) and Thomas (rebounding) to help compliment its two all-league caliber guards.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.