Well-traveled JuCo standout Chris Thomas is no longer going to attend Manhattan and is instead headed to Marshall to play his college ball, according to a report from Jon Rothstein, who spent the day at Manhattan’s practice.
Thomas’ status had been up in the air at Manhattan. He’s got a long history of academic issues and was violated his conditional released stemming from driving an unregistered vehicle without a license when he tested positive for marijuana. He was in jail during Chipola Junior College’s trip to the JuCo National tournament.
Thomas’ hoops career has been a whirlwind. He started out at a high school in Denver, but never played for them. He then transferred to Princeton Day Academy (MD) before planning on enrolling at Westwind Prep (AZ). He never made it to Westwind, however, instead enrolling at South Kent in 2011-2012. But in January of 2012, Thomas left South Kent as a 19 year old junior and enrolled at Chipola. His transcript was a such a mess at that point that it seemed unlikely he would get eligible, so he spent a semester at Chipola earning his GED before playing and taking classes this past season.
Marshall has taken chances on talented but troubled players before. Most notably, they former Louisville commit and top 50 recruit Justin Coleman, whose time at Marshall ended when he whipped out his cell phone on the bench during a game.
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.