NORMAL — Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller said Wednesday that freshman point guard Elijah Clarance has a stress fracture in his left foot and will be out six to eight weeks.

The Redbirds officially open practice Sunday night. ISU's season opener is Nov. 11 at Florida Gulf Coast, putting Clarance's availability in question.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Clarance, who is on crutches now, is expected to play a major role with the Redbirds this season.  

"Once he's back, there will be a significant learning curve," said Muller. "We're about to put in a whole bunch of stuff. He's already eager to get back ... the six weeks of practice he'll miss are pretty significant."

Junior Keyshawn Evans, who has recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, figures to be ISU's starting point guard. When Clarance is healthy, Evans can also play the off-guard spot as he did last season with Paris Lee.

The Redbirds also added another point guard earlier this month in 6-foot Jerron Martin as a graduate transfer from Texas Southern.

"He's got experience ... and got some talent. He's been in two Division I programs," said Muller, as Martin started his career at Mississippi. "He understands what it takes. He gives us depth at a position we don't have a lot of depth right now."

Muller, others not 'nervous': Muller took to Twitter on Tuesday to give his take on the FBI investigation into recruiting that has rocked the college basketball world.

"I really wish a number of well respected media would stop saying "EVERY head coach in the country is nervous right now." Factually incorrect," Muller wrote on Twitter.

In his office Wednesday, Muller said "most of us (head coaches in the country) don't do that," referring to paying recruits to attend their schools.

"Clearly most of the temptation and issues you deal with are the higher-ranked recruits," said Muller. "It affects power-five conferences more than other conferences. I understand that.

"I cannot speak personally except for one power-five coach (Pittsburgh's Kevin Stallings), and he's not worried, I know that, and there are a number of others (not worried) as there are at every level."

Stallings was Muller's coach at ISU from 1994-98. Muller later worked as Stallings' assistant coach at Vanderbilt for 12 years.

Muller said he believes the FBI investigation will turn out to be "a great thing for collegiate athletics."

"I don't know how much the system will change, but the people in it will change. You start sending people to federal prison, talk about a deterrent?" said Muller. 

"It makes it easier for those of us coaches when there's money involved and we say, 'Sorry, we can't do that,' you have more justification why you don't do it instead of them (recruits) looking at you funny."

Muller is just as interested as anyone to see how everything shakes out.

"There will be coaching moves and firings," he said. "It's a fascinating turn of events."

Follow Jim Benson on Twitter: @Pg_Benson


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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