As the Dayton Flyers made their way through the NCAA tournament and into the Elite Eight for the first time in 30 years, one attribute many latched onto was their depth. With 11 players contributing, the depth of Archie Miller’s team was a key factor in their unexpected run.
One player who was not a part of that rotation was junior center Alex Gavrilovic, who played just four minutes in their Sweet 16 win over Stanford and prior to that hadn’t played since a loss at Saint Joseph’s on February 25. Friday it was reported by multiple outlets, first by Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop, that Gavrilovic has decided to transfer for his senior season. He’s expected to graduate this spring, thus becoming eligible to play immediately at his next school.
However according to a story by David Jablonski of the Springfield News-Sun, Gavrilovic’s coach at IMG Academy also noted the possibility of the player returning to Europe (he’s a native of France) to play professionally.
“Alex has received his release and will look to transfer upon graduation or potentially turn pro back in France,” Dan Barto wrote in an email. “He will be looking for a situation with 25 plus minutes per game for his final year of eligibility most likely in a smaller conference.”
In three seasons at Dayton, Gavrilovic played ten minutes and averaged 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. Dayton will also lose Devin Oliver and Matt Kavanaugh to graduation, but return Dyshawn Pierre, Devon Scott, Jalen Robinson and Kendall Pollard to its front court rotation.
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.