Northern Colorado didn’t have a single senior on its roster last season, sparking optimism for improved play in 2013-14. But the Bears have three spots to fill, as redshirt junior forward Emmanuel Addo, junior guard Paul Garnica and sophomore forward Bryce Douvier have all decided to transfer.
The 6-7 Addo has already received interest from a few mid-major programs, as he’ll be eligible to play immediately upon his graduation from Northern Colorado. Addo averaged 4.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game last season, which represents a noticeable drop in his productivity when compared to the 2011-12 campaign.
Addo averaged 9.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest in that season, playing an average of 21.4 minutes per game (14.1 mpg in 2012-13). Also leaving the Northern Colorado front court is Douvier, who limited minutes in each of his two seasons in the program.
Garnica averaged a shade under 17 minutes per game as a junior, accounting for 7.2 points and 2.0 assists per contest. Garnica’s a capable perimeter shooter, as he hit 42.3% of his shots from beyond the arc last season.
Leading scorers Derrick Barden (13.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg), Tate Unruh (13.5) and Tevin Svihovec (11.9) are all due to return next season. But if the Bears are to improve upon their 13-18 record head coach B.J. Hill and his staff will need to provide Barden, who was one of the Big Sky’s best newcomers, with some help in the front court.
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.