One of the season-opening games to be played in an unconventional locale on Friday is the Armed Forces Classic, which involves Michigan State and Connecticut at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
On Sunday Michigan State revealed their special uniforms for the game, which are of the camouflage variety and similar to the jerseys they wore in their game against North Carolina last season.
In addition to the jerseys being camouflage the players’ shoes (laces as well) and socks will be as well.
“I think our players appreciate it,” said head coach Tom Izzo. “We wore them as a tryout today in practice. They look sharp, they feel sharp…hopefully now we’ll play sharp.”
The players were able to work out in the uniforms on Sunday, and they all voiced their approval of the apparel they weren’t allowed to see beforehand.
“We really look like some Army soldiers out here, honestly,” said forward Alex Gauna. “The pattern and everything is so sweet. I really can’t get over how [they look].”
Sophomore guard Keith Appling noted the shoes and the laces, perks the Spartans didn’t receive for the game on the USS Carl Vinson against North Carolina.
As fate should have it all eight teams playing in the four games put together to pay tribute to the military (Ohio State/Marquette, Florida/Georgetown and Syracuse/San Diego State are the other games) are sponsored by Nike and will wear special jerseys.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.