Butler rose to the top echelon of college basketball by recruiting solid midwestern kids, for the most part. It was a tent pole for the Butler Way, and it worked.
Which isn’t to say that the school will turn down a bit of flash, having grown from the Horizon to the A-10 to the Big East in a very short period of time.
This weekend, the Indianapolis Star reports that first-year Bulldogs head man Brandon Miller is entertaining former Miami Hurricanes commit Adonys Henriquez, who will make the trip to Indianapolis all the way from his home in Orlando, Florida. The 6-foot-5 Henriquez initially committed to Jim Larranaga in December 2012, but re-opened his recruitment in August of this year.
Henriquez’s high school coach Reggie Kohn said programs like Creighton, DePaul, Minnesota and Vanderbilt had visited open gym workouts recently, scoping out his player. Miller, the least known of the bunch, might have an edge, according to Kohn.
Kohn said he has come away with a favorable impression of Miller, the new Butler coach.
“I like him,” he said. “I can’t say that about all the coaches who come through here. I got a good chance to talk with him. At the same time, it’s a bit of an unknown and he obviously has big shoes to fill. But I’ve heard nothing but good things and came away with a good feeling myself from him.”
Kohn said Henriquez doesn’t have a timeline for a commitment but does plan to sign in November.
It’ll be interesting to see what Miller and the Bulldogs can do with their exalted status as Big East members. Beating rivals from their new conference to players like Henriquez will be a good sign.
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.