Last week the Oakland Golden Grizzlies’ road trip to California took a turn for the worse when it was reported that players Duke Mondy and Dante Williams were arrested on charges of felony rape. Those charges would ultimately be dropped, but head coach Greg Kampe made the decision to send both home ahead of the team’s game at Cal.
It was unknown just how long the suspension of the two players would last, and on Wednesday the school announced that both have been reinstated. Mondy and Williams missed games against Cal and Gonzaga as a result of what was termed as a violation of team policies with both having broken curfew.
“I am at issue with the moral connotations of what occurred, but I work at a public institution where diverse beliefs and ideals are accepted,” Kampe said in the release. “It is the consequences of their actions while representing this university that must be addressed.
“It is my belief that the word coach and teacher are synonymous, and I intend on making this a learning experience for the two student-athletes involved and the rest of the team. The entire team will be going through a series of behind-the-scenes workshops and training sessions to address not only this incident, but also additional life skills.
“The mission of this basketball program is and always has been to educate student-athletes, and that education process needs to be in addition to academics.”
As a redshirt junior Mondy, who began his collegiate career at Providence, was named Summit League Newcomer of the Year (Oakland is now a member of the Horizon League) after posting averages of 12.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. And his 100 steals on the season (3.0 spg) led the conference. Having Mondy back in the fold gives Oakland another capable perimeter scorer alongside the prolific Travis Bader, who’s averaging 20.0 points per game and scored 22 in the Golden Grizzlies’ 82-67 loss at Gonzaga.
Currently 0-4 on the season, Oakland doesn’t play again until they face Louisiana on Saturday.
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.