After winning the America East tournament last season and leading the Albany Great Danes to their third NCAA tournament appearance, head coach Will Brown has been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2017-18 season. Overall Brown, whose been in charge of the Albany program since 2001, has led the Great Danes to three America East titles and a record of 172-191.
“‘I am pleased to announce that Coach Brown has signed a five-year contract extension,” Albany athletic director Dr. Lee McElroy said in the release. “Coach Brown and his staff demonstrated that his leadership, with an emphasis on service, athletics and academic excellence reflect the core values of the University.
“President Jones and I are delighted that Coach Brown will continue to build character, integrity and accountability with our student-athletes for years to come.”
Albany finished the 2012-13 season with a 24-11 record, setting a school record for wins in a season. Repeating the feat of reaching the NCAA tournament will be tough with leading scorers Mike Black (14.8 ppg) and Jacob Iati (12.2) having graduated, but the Great Danes do welcome back leading rebounder Sam Rowley (9.0, 6.2 rpg) and sophomore guard Peter Hooley (8.0, 3.1 apg).
6-10 center John Puk also returns for Albany, who will need players who were merely a part of the rotation last season to raise their level of play with Black and Iati out of eligibility. Also in the running for the America East title are Vermont, which returns six of its top seven scorers from a season ago, and reigning regular season champion Stony Brook.
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.