NCAA Basketball: Illini Basketball Toughens To Bring Back Life After Seasons In LimboBy Darren Domirez, UniversityHerald Reporter
In an attempt to bring back Illini Basketball back to NCAA Tournament life after seasons in Limbo, Coach John Groce needed a vote of assurance in March from new AD Josh Whitman to carry on piloting the ship amid players' unfortunate dealings with NCAA rulings.
Considering, Leron Black has been restored to the team after being found guilty of misconduct assault. Black will be suspended for the season's first six games, including exhibition games. Meanwhile, according to Pantagraph, Kendrick Nunn had pleaded guilty to a count of misdemeanor array after admitting he had beaten a woman. This conviction can be detached from his record if he agreed to conditions ordered by the court. But Nunn remains unresolved on whether he deserves to maintain his basketball program.
For Whitman, who has addressed domestic abuse "an intolerable offense," the university must first abide on disciplinary action. Then if needed, it must make a decision if there are conditions under which Nunn would obtain a second chance, Pantagraph added.
Stunner good news arrived this week, NCAA ruled favoring Illini center Mike Thorne Jr.'s medical hardship appeal. The said plea will grant him an eligibility of sixth year. Groce's 2016-17 team will surely benefit from and is potentially a huge boost within the team.
Despite being the worst rebounding team in the Big Ten 2015-16, Illinois is getting both Thorne and Black back, their two best rebounders. Tentatively, Pantagraph cited, Illinois has to create a fun-to-watch team which plays hard and players should stay out of off-court issues during the NCAA Tournament.
Although Nunn would not be around, Illinois' stance is significantly enhanced in the hopes that no more additional major injuries will get in. However, basing on Illini Basketball's recent history, this assumption is off-court, Pantagraph reported.
But the key to its goal will be development from other playing members, like: Michael Finke, Maverick Morgan, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Aaron Jordan, D.J. Williams with the transfer Kipper Nichols. And when the decision on Nunn arrives, Groce and these players have to make the best of what has been a rock-strewn and troubled situation.