Tennessee’s new head coach Donnie Tyndall was looking for graduate transfer Eric McKnight to combat the losses of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon on the Volunteer’s frontline. However, Tennessee received unfortunate news on Tuesday, as McKnight’s waiver to play this season was denied by the SEC.
McKnight played three seasons at Florida Gulf Coast, a member of 2013’s Sweet 16 team. He decided to transfer to Tennessee back on May 12. The NCAA granted McKnight a waiver, but according to the Times Free-Press, the SEC denied his initial waiver and his appeal. In June, the SEC lifted the ban on graduate transfers, but those student-athletes still had to meet a certain criteria such as remaining in good academic standing at their previous school, earning all APR points, and having no disciplinary infractions.
“We have been informed that Eric McKnight has been denied the graduate transfer waiver by the SEC,” Tyndall said in a statement. “We pursued this issue through the proper protocol, and I respect the process. Although we are disappointed that Eric will not be joining our program, we are focused on moving forward.”
Tyndall got to work quickly when he was hired to replace Cuonzo Martin. He landed JuCo recruits Devon Baulkman and Kevin Punters, as well as graduate transfer Ian Chiles and four-star guard Detrick Mostella. The Vols front court, which will be without Rawane Ndiaye this season, will expect production from newcomers Willie Carmichael, Jabari McGhee and Tariq Owens.
The 6-foot-9 McKnight averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Eagles during the 2013-2014 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.