While the NCAA champion UConn Huskies lost junior wing DeAndre Daniels to the 2014 NBA Draft on Friday, they did retain an important piece as the school announced via Twitter that junior guard Ryan Boatright would return for his senior season.
#UConn: DeAndre Daniels opts for the NBA Draft, but guard Ryan Boatright will return to the Huskies for his senior season.
The 6-foot Boatright averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in an up-and-down junior season for Kevin Ollie’s Huskies. Boatright stepped up his play in the NCAA Tournament, however, and is a much-improved defender on the perimeter as well. Boatright averaged 1.6 steals a game last season.
The junior shot 39 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the charity stripe. Ollie will likely have Boatright run point next season and put him alongside North Carolina State transfer and former McDonald’s All-American Rodney Purvis, or give freshman guard Terrence Samuel more minutes after some solid stretches of play during the season.
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.