Brad Underwood announced today that Tevian Jones will “suit up” for the Maryland game.
No matter what that phrasing implies, it’s top-notch trolling.
Jones, you’ll recall, is the Terrapin killer whose career-best game stunned Madison Square Garden last winter. He’s the guy they didn’t see coming, and couldn’t stop going. Mark Turgeon still has nighthorses about Tevian Jones.
Jones sat out 8 games last year, so it might seem natural that this year’s suspension is also 8 games. But we know that his sophomore suspension is academics oriented, whereas last year’s was urine-based.
Perhaps DIA penalties for academic misdemeanors include, like a second positive pee test, sitting out for a quarter of the season.
But otherwise, the timing seems weird. The semester ends next weekend, not this one.
Underwood did not say Tevian will travel with the team. He did not say Tevian will play. We hope both of those potentialities come true. But it would be hilarious if Underwood made the announcement merely to keep Turgeon and staff up all night.
Tevian Jones was arguably the most improved sophomore coming into this season. The other candidate is Alan Griffin. Both showcased their improvement in Italy. But there’s no doubt that Tevian had the most dazzling European performance.
The book is still out on Underwood. He’s going to have to reach the NCAA tournament before any Illini fan can be sure he’s The Guy. But for those still recovering from Bruce Weber Syndrome, it’s refreshing to have a leader who’s willing to shift direction, change schemes, and plant misdirection in the minds of his opponents.
Well played, coach.