On February 27 New Mexico State’s game at Utah Valley ended in violent fashion, with some of the Wolverine fans who rushed the court to celebrate their team’s overtime victory getting in a fight with some NMSU players. One of the players involved was guard K.C. Ross-Miller, who hit Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker with the basketball just after time expired.
As a redshirt sophomore Ross-Miller started in 20 of the 30 games he played, averaging 8.3 points and 3.5 assists per contest. Ross-Miller, who at one point in time verbally committed to attend Kentucky (during the Billy Gillispie era), shot 43.7% from the field and 39.3% from beyond the arc. His best individual performance came in a win at UTEP in late November, as he accounted for 26 points, six assists and just two turnovers.
Without Ross-Miller even more of the playmaking responsibilities fell upon the shoulders of guard Daniel Mullings, who won WAC Player of the Year honors. Mullings, who will be a senior next season, averaged 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a junior. In addition to Mullings the Aggies are expected to return DK Eldridge, who won WAC Newcomer of the Year honors, and underclassmen Ian Baker and Travon Landry.
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.