Patrick Chambers

2016 forward Joe Hampton verbally commits to Penn State

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Nearly a month after it was revealed that 6-foot-7 forward Joe Hampton would be transferring from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland to Oak Hill Academy, the 2016 forward announced that he has verbally committed to Penn State. Hampton did so during an unofficial visit to the school on Saturday, making his commitment to Patrick Chambers’ program public via his Twitter account.

Hampton is the first commitment in the Class of 2016 for the Nittany Lions, who have three commitments in the Class of 2015 thus far. Last season at DeMatha, Hampton averaged 11.9 points per game on a team that finished the season with a 29-6 record. In a story written by Brandon Parker of the Washington Post last month, DeMatha head coach Mike Jones had nothing but positive things to say about Hampton when discussing the player’s decision to switch high schools.

“I know the first thing some people might think when hearing the news is that Joe got in trouble or his grades were bad, but I want to make it clear that’s not the case,” Jones said. “Joe is coming off a very good year academically. I know his family thought through this decision and it wasn’t an easy one for them. They did what they felt was best for Joe and we wish him the best. He still has brothers on this team and the coaches care a lot about him as well.”

Adding Hampton is an important recruiting move for Penn State, as Brandon Taylor and Donovan Jack are both juniors this season. After receiving a verbal commitment from 6-foot-8 power forward/center Mike Watkins in the Class of 2015, the Nittany Lions have managed to address the need to account for those coming departures.

Among the other programs in contact with Hampton, who is currently ranked 60th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, were DePaul, Maryland and Xavier.

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.