Once of the notable moves of the 2014 coaching carousel was Division II coach Kim Anderson taking over at his alma mater after Missouri head coach Frank Haith bolted for Tulsa.
Anderson was tasked with holding onto four-star commits Jakeenan Gant and Namon Wright. Gant never asked out of his National Letter of Intent. Although, Wright, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, opted to explore other programs.
“I will still strongly consider going to Missouri , I just need to make sure I’m in the right situation for me,” Wright tweeted at the time of his release.
Eight days after receiving permission to talk with other schools, Wright once again pledged his commitment to Mizzou. This was first reported by Josh Gershon of Scout.
Utah, which should contend in the ever-changing Pac-12, was targeting Wright, even hosting him on a visit earlier this week.
The Tigers back court is without its top two scorers — Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson — both of whom declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. Wright joins holdovers Wes Clark and Shane Rector in the Mizzou back court. Baylor transfer Deuce Bello is also eligible after sitting out last season.
Gant and Wright are part of a three-man class, which includes Anderson’s first commit D’Angelo Allen.
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.