New Delaware State head coach Keith Walker, whose interim tag removed in mid-April, has filled out his coaching staff with three hires being made official by the school on Thursday. Joining Walker at the MEAC school are assistants Keith Johnson, Kevin Washington and Alex Stone, with Johnson serving as the program’s assistant head coach.
“I’ve known Keith Johnson for more than 25 years, and have a great deal of admiration for his knowledge of the game,” Walker said in the release. “He has been mentored by two of the greatest coaches of our time in Hall-of-Famer John Chaney of Temple and “Fang” Mitchell at Coppin State. Keith’s knowledge of the MEAC, along with his recruiting ties in the Delaware Valley and Mid-Atlantic regions, will greatly benefit our program.”
Johnson spent the last 13 years at Coppin State, and the hiring of Washington is another move that catches the eye. Prior to moving up to the Division I ranks Washington was the head coach at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, and two of the players he coached during his time there are John Wall and T.J. Warren.
While getting players of that caliber to the MEAC school would be a stretch, maybe connections forged there can help the Hornets on the recruiting trail as they look to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.
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.