Tennessee and new head coach Donnie Tyndall picked up some good news this week as rising sophomore shooting guard Robert Hubbs III was cleared to return to full-contact drills.
In a report with WBIR, Tyndall spoke about the return of Hubbs, who had season-ending shoulder surgery after appearing in only 12 games last season. Hubbs didn’t play last season after the Volunteers’ December 30th win over Virginia. Despite not playing in 2014, Hubbs appeared in too many games to garner a medical redshirt from the NCAA, as he played in more than 30 percent of Tennessee’s games last season.
“There was no soreness, there were no bumps along the way. Knock on wood he’s been good,” Tyndall said to WBIR.
The new coach went on to say that Hubbs has been through one full-contact work out already. The Volunteers were originally hoping to get Hubbs cleared by June 1st, but gave him some extra time as a precautionary measure.
Hubbs was a five-star prospect coming out of high school in Newborn, Tennessee but struggled to find his shot his freshman season as he averaged 5 points and 1.5 rebounds and 18.3 minutes per game. The 6-foot-6 guard only shot 30 percent from the field and 28 percent from the three-point line.
Although Hubbs struggled as a freshman, his return to Tennessee was huge for Tyndall with the first-year Volunteers’ coach losing so many players to transfer while also having to recruit an all-new spring recruiting class.
Tyndall is hoping that a healthy Hubbs finds his shot in his sophomore season as the shooting guard could be counted on for big minutes as one of the few holdovers from the Cuonzo Martin era.
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.