Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier will play Saturday against Pittsburgh, five days after injuring his shoulder versus Louisville, the school announced via Twitter.
Napier was listed as a “gametime decision” after being injured on a drive to the basket early in Monday’s loss to the Cardinals and made the trip to Pittsburgh with the team, as expected. According to the school, he felt some discomfort in the shoulder during shootaround this morning, but will “give it a go” Saturday.
Having Napier in the lineup vs. Pittsburgh will be key, as the Huskies try to neutralize the strong backcourt of Tray Woodall and James Robinson for the Panthers. Napier has been one of the best guards in the Big East this season, averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. He and backcourt mate Ryan Boatright have emerged as a solid one-two punch for the Huskies, with Boatright averaging 15.8 points and 4.6 assists per game.
Connecticut tips off against Pittsburgh at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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.