After three years with the Penn State program, rising junior forward Jon Graham was granted a release and will be allowed to transfer for his final two seasons of eligibility, the school announced on Tuesday afternoon.
“Jon and I have had several meetings to discuss his future and he has decided to seek opportunities to continue his playing career elsewhere,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said in a school statement on Tuesday. “Jon is a terrific young man. We thank him for his hard work and wish him the best moving forward.”
The 6-foot-8 Graham averaged 1.9 points 2.7 rebounds per game in 2012-2013 season. Though, his points, rebounds and minutes per game went down from his freshman season.
The Nittany Lions also lost Jermaine Marshall this offseason. He originally announced he would be going pro back in May, but on Tuesday decided to return to school and got his release from Penn State. Chambers does return its top two scorers from a season ago — D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier. Penn State will be perimeter-dominant team and will likely go with a smaller lineup in 2013-2014. Penn State didn’t have much height last season, with its top four rebounders standing 6-foot-6 or under.
The Nittany Lions bring in a 6-foot-9 center Julian Moore (Germantown Academy/Philadelphia, Pa.) to go along with returning forwards Donovan Jack and Brandon Taylor.
Penn State does add SMU transfer Jordan Dickerson, a 7-foot freshman. Though, he has to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.
Graham, the Baltimore, Md. native, had committed to Penn State in May of 2010.
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.