With classes having started at most Division I schools, these are tension-filled days for incoming freshmen who have yet to hear from the NCAA Eligibility Center in regards to their status for the upcoming season. One of those players is highly-touted forward Tyler Roberson, who has the talent to crack the Orange’s rotation this season. But he doesn’t have the clearance he needs from the Eligibility Center, meaning that Roberson has yet to join the program.
SU spokesman Kevin Quinn declined to comment on when the university can admit its final students of this semester, though a different source said Roberson must hear from the NCAA before Tuesday, the last day that students can add or drop courses at SU. (Syracuse students started classes last Monday.)
If Roberson doesn’t learn his fate by then, his National Letter of Intent (NLI) will be void, he will be considered a non-qualifier, and his SU commitment is no longer binding.
If a player is deemed to be a non-qualifier he can still attend the school, but he would have to do so without the aid of an athletic scholarship and his “five years to complete four” eligibility clock would begin as well. But at this point, the only thing Roberson can do is wait and hope that the Eligibility Center rules in his favor.
If Roberson isn’t cleared, what would this do to Syracuse? Not being able to add a player of Roberson’s caliber would hurt, but in all honesty head coach Jim Boeheim has enough depth inside to absorb the personnel loss. Forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant are expected to lead the way, with Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman and Baye Keita also returning from last season’s Final Four team.
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.