Just over two months ago it was reported that former Monmouth forward Marcus Ware, who completed his undergraduate studies at the school, would be transferring to Iona.
Turns out that Ware will remain in the MAAC, but he’ll be doing so at another school. Ware has transferred to Niagara to play for first-year head coach Chris Casey, with the school announcing its full list of newcomers on Tuesday. Also joining the Purple Eagles, who won the MAAC regular season title last season, are former Iowa State guard Cameron Fowler and freshmen Wesley Myers (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Ramone Snowden (Virginia Beach, Va.).
As a redshirt junior at Monmouth Ware averaged 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, finishing the season ranked third on the team in rebounding. With the loss of leading rebounder Ameen Tanksley (6.0 rpg in 2012-13), the Purple Eagles will need Ware to contribute on the glass. But Tanksley wasn’t the only key loss for Niagara, with star guard Juan’ya Green also leaving the program after head coach Joe Mihalich accepted the head coaching position at Hofstra.
Both Green and Tanksley transferred to Hofstra, where they’ll sit out the upcoming season per NCAA transfer rules. That leaves wing Antoine Mason, who posted averages of 18.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last year, to lead the way offensively as Niagara looks to become the first repeat MAAC regular season champion since Siena won three straight from 2008-2010 (the Saints shared the 2008 regular season title with Rider).
But that mission will be a tough one for Casey and company, as both Iona and Manhattan have put together strong squads entering the 2013-14 campaign.
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.