Horizon League

Concussions end Wright State senior guard’s college career


Wednesday night Wright State lost for the fourth time in their last five games, falling 84-76 in overtime at Oakland. Billy Donlon’s team also took a hit to its depth in that defeat, with senior guard Kendall Griffin suffering a concussion during the second half. It was announced by Donlon on Friday that Griffin’s college career has come to an end as a result of multiple concussions.

Griffin, who started five of the eight games he played in this season, suffered two concussions this season and a total of five in the last 18 months. The 6-foot-4 Griffin averaged 8.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game for the Raiders, who are 11-11 overall and 3-5 in Horizon League play.

“Under the circumstances, (his spirits) are as good as they can be,” Donlon said. “He is a mature young man. When he came back, he knew one more and it was over. He came back and came to grips with, there is a good possibility (of sustaining another concussion) because of the way he plays.”

Griffin suffered the first concussion in Wright State’s 73-70 season-opening win over Belmont and did not return to action until the team’s game at Green Bay January 5.

Freshman forward Roderick Davis, who played 22 minutes in the team’s loss at Milwaukee January 20 (a game Griffin left after just two minutes over fears that he’d suffered a concussion then), is one player who could see an increase in minutes moving forward. Davis played 37 minutes against Oakland, accounting for 17 points and seven rebounds.

Former Murray State guard transfers to Milwaukee


Citing homesickness, guard JayQuan McCloud left the Murray State program in mid-October before he’d even had the opportunity to suit up in a game for Steve Prohm’s program. According to a report Saturday, the North Chicago (Illinois) Community HS product has found his new school.

According to Scott Burgess of Prep Hoops Illinois, McCloud has decided to transfer to Milwaukee.

As a high school senior the 6-foot-4 McCloud averaged 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. The Panthers lose two senior guards at the end of the current season, Evan Richard and Steve McWhorter, with McWhorter (14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) currently leading the team in both points and rebounds.

Green Bay gets signature win on the road against unbeaten No. 15 Miami

source: AP

Over the last two seasons, Green Bay has been one of the mid-major teams that gets the most attention for at-large NCAA Tournament bids. And coming from what is traditionally a one-bid league, the Phoenix need to do all they can for their resume outside of the Horizon League.

Green Bay and talented senior point guard Keifer Sykes pulled off a giant road win on Saturday as they topped previously-unbeaten No. 15 Miami 68-55. The Hurricanes fell behind by double digits in the second half and did everything they could to slow down the Green Bay offense, but to no avail.

Miami tried multiple looks, including a box-and-one on Sykes, but junior guard Carrington Love stepped up with 20 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists while forward Greg Mays chipped in 10 points. Sykes added 18 points and spearheaded a defense that changed looks throughout the game and confused the Miami offense.

The Hurricanes only shot 32 percent from the field on the afternoon as point guard Angel Rodriguez struggled to a 2-for-15 day and only 12 points.  Miami could have overlooked Green Bay after knocking off a top-25 opponent in Illinois earlier this week, but this is just not a strong effort from the Hurricanes.

For Green Bay, they showed that they have the interior size and depth with guys like Alfonzo McKinnie and Henry Udadiae coming off of the bench, to match up with some bigger teams and if other scorers step up around Sykes, they have a very dangerous team. Coming off of a big loss earlier in the week to Georgia State, Green Bay came out aggressive and  won its biggest game of the season to date.

Of course, Green Bay beat Virginia last season, but they couldn’t save their season after a loss in the Horizon League tournament. Head coach Brian Wardle and his team know that they’ll likely have to win the conference tournament title to play in the the Big Dance this season. But the Miami win shows that they’re capable of doing that, and being a threat if they make it.

Assigned Reading: Oakland’s Tommy McCune has overcome a lot while showing flashes of great play


Oakland forward Tommy McCune could have quit on basketball a number of different times over the course of his life, but the former West Virginia transfer has remained tough through all of the battles as he goes into this season with a particularly heavy heart.

In a tremendous read from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, McCune goes through the relationship he had with his mother, who passed away this offseason after a battle with cancer. McCune dealt with a lot of hardship during his childhood in Saginaw, Michigan and relied a lot on his mother to guide him through the difficult times.

But as Snyder details in the story, McCune is moving on and finding success despite the loss of the person that meant the most to him. Without spoiling too much of the story, I encourage you to give this a read and see how strong McCune is as a person by staying in school and with the Oakland program.

You can read the full story here.

Green Bay to pay tribute to fallen soldiers in Saturday’s season opener (VIDEO)


Saturday afternoon Brian Wardle’s Green Bay Phoenix will begin their season with hopes of not only defending their Horizon League regular season title but also earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. Preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes will lead the way for Green Bay, and the Phoenix will use Saturday’s opener against Illinois-Springfield to honor the men and women who have served in the military.

Green Bay will wear special uniforms for the occasion, with American flag print lettering and numbering, and the names on the backs of the jerseys will be special as well. Each player will have the last name of a fallen member of the military on their jerseys as opposed to their own name.

Above is video of Sykes and sophomore Turner Botz discussing the uniforms and what they mean to the them, courtesy of Green Bay Athletics.

Green Bay Athletics

Two UIC players suspended three games apiece for violation of school policy


After winning just six games in 2013-14, Howard Moore’s UIC Flames are hoping to turn things around this season. Unfortunately for UIC, two players won’t be with them to start the campaign as they’ve been suspended three games apiece.

Fifth-year senior guard Jay Harris and redshirt freshman guard/forward Lance Whitaker have been suspended for a violation of team rules, with the program announcing the news Thursday afternoon. Harris, a native of nearby Aurora, Illinois, averaged 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game at Wagner last season.

Harris played in 21 games, starting 17, before being suspended for the remainder of the season for a violation of school policy.

As for Whitaker, he’s returning to the court after playing in just three games in 2013-14 due to a torn ACL in his right knee. As a result of the injury Whitaker was granted a medical redshirt. UIC returns two starters from last season’s team, and both Harris and Whitaker are expected to contribute this season.

“Being a member of the UIC men’s basketball program is a privilege and with that comes a certain level of expectations and responsibility,” Moore said in the release announcing the suspensions.