“D.J. is close to his family and has missed them during his long absences from home,” head coach Dr. John Giannini said in a statement released by the school. “He also is close to his La Salle teammates. After deciding to transfer, he spoke with his parents and teammates and has since decided to stay at La Salle. D.J.’s decision is strictly personal and not basketball-related.”
“It is hard for a young person to be pulled in two different directions,” Giannini continued. “I respect that D.J. has had to make a difficult personal decision. Our recent success is largely due to our chemistry and family atmosphere. We would support any decisions D.J. makes for his future and we are happy that we will continue to be a part of our team.”
Peterson started 17 of the 34 games in which he played this past season, averaging 3.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest for the Explorers.
His numbers certainly aren’t as flashy as those posted by the likes of Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren or Ty Garland, but Peterson proved to be a solid member of a rotation that reached the Sweet 16.
His decision to return next season gives Dr. Giannini more depth on the perimeter as Galloway is out of eligibility. La Salle adds newcomer Amar Stukes on the perimeter, and they’ll also have the services of Cleon Roberts (redshirted in 2012-13).
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.