Normally, I’m thoroughly against the idea of recruiting athletes that are in the seventh grade, but I have to give credit to Chris Mack.
On Monday, the Xavier head coach signed 12 year old Trey Couch of Liberty Township to a National Letter of Intent.
Couch may be young and it may be against the strictest of NCAA rules, but it’s for a good cause. Couch has Cerebellar Degeneration, a neurodegenerative disease. He was diagnosed in 2010. The disease has no cure.
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” Mack said in a statement. “Sometimes we look at our everyday challenges and think we have it tough. We try to teach our student-athletes that there are a lot stiffer challenges that other people have to face.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to join my new teammates in the locker room and on the court,” said Trey.
Trey was teamed up with Xavier through Team IMPACT, a program that tries to improve the quality of life for kids facing life-threatening battles with disease. Trey will join Mack at a press conference at 4:30 p.m. on Monday to announce the signing.
As a member of a Division I basketball program now, Trey is going to be a media magnet. The first thing Chris Mack ought to do is to get him into media training. When asked who his favorite team is, Trey, with a smile, answered “Kentucky”.
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.