Sandburg High (Illinois) forward Malek Harris, a four-star recruit regarded as No. 80 overall in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, will sign with Kansas State. He announced his decision through his Twitter account on Sunday afternoon.
The commitment wasn’t a well-kept secret. Several weeks ago, a report surfaced that Harris had verbally committed to Bruce Weber. A conflicting report stated Harris had scheduled to make his decision known on Mother’s Day.
The 6-foot-7 Harris had originally picked Marquette, though, when Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech in March, he decommitted.
Harris becomes the third commit in Weber’s class, joining shooting guard Tre Harris and junior college power forward Stephen Hurt. Also suiting up next season for the Wildcats are transfers Justin Edwards (Maine) and Brandon Bolden (Georgetown). Both of whom sat out last year due to NCAA rules.
Kansas State returns Marcus Foster, Thomas Gipson, Wesley Iwundu and Nino Williams from last year’s team that finished fifth in the Big 12. While K-State graduates Will Spradling and Shane Southwell, second on the team in boards per game, it adds one of the nation’s best rebounders. Harris gives the front court some versatility with his ability to play the three and the four, and defensively, he can matchup with several positions.
Kansas State reached the NCAA tournament this past season, being bounced in the Round of 64 by national finalist Kentucky.
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.