Less than a month after representing the Horizon League in the NCAA tournament, falling to No. 3 Syracuse in the Round of 64, the Milwaukee Panthers learned Wednesday that they will not have the opportunity to return in 2014-15.
The school announced that its appeal of sanctions related to substandard Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures was denied by the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance, resulting in the basketball program being banned from postseason play in 2014-15. As a result Rob Jeter’s team will also be prohibited from participating in the Horizon League tournament.
“The academic success of our student-athletes will always be the top priority in the Milwaukee athletic department,” UWM Athletic Director Amanda Braun said. “We are aware that problems did occur in the past, but we have faced them and made changes and are accepting the consequences from the NCAA. Well before we even started the appeals process, we began implementing new processes to help all of our student-athletes have more success in the classroom.”
According to the school the program will have to replace four hours of practice time with four hours of academic support, and they’ll be allowed five days of practice during the season instead of six. During the current four-year window, which ended with the 2012-13 season, schools are required to have an APR score of at least 930. Milwaukee’s score of 908 obviously fell short of that mark.
Of Milwaukee’s top five scorers from this season three have eligibility remaining: guard Steve McWhorter (7.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg; will be a senior next season) and forwards Austin Arians (11.1, 3.5) and Matt Tiby (12.0, 6.5). Both Arians and Tiby will be juniors in 2014-15.
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.