What I’m really gonna look at is, I’m gonna compare campuses and I’m just gonna see how the coaches are. I wanna be at a school where the coaches are Christians like myself. It’s been a good learning experience. I’ve just been thinking about it for a while. I just need to compare.
Black recently told Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal: “I like them (Indiana) a lot, and I like the way they play. I watched them a lot this year. I loved watching them play this year. I had them winning it all, but you know how that goes. I like the coaching staff over there. … It ain’t too far (from home) either.”
The call he received from Rick Pitino caught him off-guard at first, but it was a welcoming surprise:
I didn’t know who it was when I looked at my phone, and (the caller ID) said Kentucky. So I said, ‘I guess I’m going to answer it.’ He said, ‘Hello, this is Rick Pitino.’ I said, ‘Woo.’ It kind of shocked me. I was excited about it, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity.
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.