2015-16 results: Illinois State finished tied for second-place in the Missouri Valley Conference last season as they were 18-14 and 12-6 in the league. But the Redbirds ended the season in disappointing fashion, losing three out of four games, including their opening game of Arch Madness. The losses to Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Indiana State showed a program that is still one step away from being among the Valley's elite.
Players to watch: Senior guard Paris Lee returns to lead Illinois State as he remains one of the best two-way guards in the conference. The former Proviso East product averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a junior. Junior forwards MiKyle McIntosh (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Deontae Hawkins (10.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) also returns and that trio gives Illinois State one of the best core groups in the Valley this season.
[RELATED: Local college hoops 2016-17 preview - Loyola]
Key storylines: Finding a big man could be a huge key to this season as the Redbirds have plenty of capable guards, wings and forwards. A healthy sophomore year from 7-footer David Ndiaye should help with that problem.
Newcomers to track: Two junior college transfers should help provide depth this season. Phil Fayne is a 6-foot-9 forward with three years of eligibility left as he shot 62 percent from the floor at Western Nebraska Community College. Junior D.J. Clayton is a 6-foot-6 wing who gives additional scoring as well.
Season outlook: With a strong trio of leaders and reinforcements providing depth, Illinois State is looking to make the postseason in 2016-17, with the hope being to compete for a NCAA tournament spot. The reign of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker is over as Wichita State tries to transition into a new era and Northern Iowa lost plenty of talent from an NCAA tournament team as well so it could be an interesting year in the Valley.
The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."
A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."
The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.
In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.
The Michigan Wolverines are hiring former Fab Five star Juwan Howard as the head coach of their basketball team. Aside from being a part of that prolific college basketball team, Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.
And he is a former local basketball hoops star at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where we was named an All-American in 1991.
But the Fab Five have not been on the best of terms over the years, particularly current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. With Howard back in Ann Arbor, all beefs are officially over.
“It squashes any drama or any beef because we’re not going to bring that to Ann Arbor’s campus with Juwan Howard as our head coach," Rose told Mike Greenberg when asked about the beef Thursday morning on ESPN's Get Up. "The one thing that we both know is his success turning around the University of Michigan is first and foremost about him and about the players that he’s going to influence. Then it’s about us being there to support him, not being drama, not being splintered, not giving any indication of dysfunction.
"We’re going to move as a family and we’re going to do what we can to build on what John Beilein has established in Ann Arbor.”
Rose reiterated this point later in the day during a segment with fellow Michigan alum Adam Schefter.
Let's wait and see if Howard brings winning ways to Michigan to make this honeymoon period last, otherwise it could be back to business as usual.
Also, does Chris Webber feel the same way? Has Rose already talked to Webber to clear the air? Or is Rose just saying it's over on his side in the hopes Webber follows suit?
Both Webber and Rose made it clear that Howard was their preferred candidate, so they seem to be on the same page.
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