Lawrence Moten didn’t have much of an NBA career, so casual fans may have forgotten him. But the Syracuse swingman was one of the greatest Big East players of the 1990s, and his alma mater definitely hasn’t forgotten that.
Moten himself revealed that Syracuse has told him they will retire his No. 21 jersey this season, though the date hasn’t been settled. With the Orange entering the ACC, Moten won’t be able to take his bows in front of an old-school rival – his career high of 36 points came against Villanova, for instance – but he has an idea of which setting would please him the most.
“Hopefully it will be a Duke game,” Moten said Wednesday night. “It’s one of the biggest games on the schedule. I envision them putting the court in the middle of the Dome. It’s just my vision.”
Moten projected the scenario after making a guest appearance at a Syracuse Chiefs game at NBT Bank Stadium. He signed autographs, threw out the first pitch and then taped several promos for the team long after almost everyone else had left the park.
Momentum for the honor gathered steam during Syracuse’s trip to the most recent Men’s Final Four, where gathered Orange fans gave a warm welcome to the man who still holds the Big East and Syracuse all-time scoring record at age 40. As a superstar player who stayed all four years, his mark of 1,405 career points is unlikely to be bested.
While the honor is definitely deserved, it’s also a smart move for the school to do it this season. In breaking with the Big East, the Orange will do well to honor a living link to their history even as they transition to a new league. Perhaps a nice jersey retirement ceremony will ease some of the sting and confusion for fans facing a whole new roster of opponents night-in and night-out.
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.