Friday afternoon the 18th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament was played at the Penn State Blue and White golf courses, with more than 300 golfers signing up for a good cause. Also taking part in the event were former pro Ron Harper and Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers, with the cause being an especially personal one for the head coach.
How personal? In a story written by Ben Jones of StateCollege.com about the event, it’s mentioned that Chambers’ older brother Gregory passed away from the disease (lung cancer) on March 18. This wasn’t a situation made public by Chambers or anyone within the Penn State basketball family, with the head coach preferring to keep the news private.
What also stands out about the story is the bond shared by Chambers and rising senior guard D.J. Newbill, whose mother passed away from cancer in 2012. The relationship between the two has been an especially close one, with the two supporting each other in their respective times of need.
“But I feel like the relationship we have now we can talk about anything, talk about our feelings, talking about our emotions, talking about what we’re going through and how we can get through it,” Chambers said. “And how we can make peace with everything and understand why. I think that’s the biggest question to caregivers is “why?” Why is it happening to me why, is it happening to him, why is it happening to his wife? Why did it happen to DJ and his family? So I think we have an open line of communication like that and it can only be therapeutic and helpful.”
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.