Towson head coach Pat Skerry and Marshall head coach Tom Herrion are teaming up to sponsor Autism Awareness Day on Feb. 1st.
Feb. 1st is a Saturday, so the two coaches broke down the national television schedules and picked out 41 games and 82 coaches they believe will get the most publicity. They then purchased 82 blue, puzzle piece-shaped lapel pins from Autism Speaks and sent them off to some of the biggest names in the coaching business.
“Anybody that has a child that has any sort of special needs or diagnoses, the biggest thing is you’re trying to allow your child to be normal,” Herrion told Brian Hamilton of SI.com. “In today’s society, as a parent, that’s your biggest fear. You try to educate people so they understand.”
Both Herrion and Skerry have children that have been diagnosed with Autism, so their charitable effort stem from personal experience.
“It’s [about] getting help for people,” Skerry said. “It’s a cost. I’m fortunate. There’s a lot of other people that maybe aren’t. Hopefully with more money and research – you’re talking about our children here – how do you help them? How do you help them figure it out?”
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.