Entering his seventh season as the head coach at Santa Clara, Kerry Keating has won 100 games and ranks behind only Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett on the list of the most successful coaches in the WCC in the last decade. In two of the last three seasons Keating’s Broncos have won 20-plus games and a postseason tournament title, winning the CollegeInsider.com tournament in 2011 and the CBI last year.
“We are confident in Coach Keating’s leadership of our basketball program,” Santa Clara AD Dan Coonan said in the release. “In addition to the recent success, I like the youth in the program, the depth of talent and the way they are all buying in. We’ve graduated each of the 17 seniors to go through the program with Coach, but beyond that I love what they are telling us in their exit interviews.
“They relished their time here as student-athletes, they grew as athletes and as people in the program, and they are having the type of transformational life experience that we seek for all our teams. The program is headed in the right direction, and Kerry is the right person to bring us to the next level.”
The Broncos do have some key personnel losses to address entering the 2013-14 campaign, most notably high-scoring guard Kevin Foster, guard Raymond Cowels III and forward Marc Trasolini. But guard Evan Rocquemore, one of the best perimeter players in the WCC, returns for his senior campaign and will be asked to lead Keating’s young squad.
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.