Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.
Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.
The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.
One of the most powerful stories of the 2014-15 season was that of Albany guard Peter Hooley, whose shot with less than a second remaining gave the Great Danes a win over Stony Brook in the America East title game. Hooley’s heroics came less than two months after the passing of his mother from a lengthy bout with colon cancer, and just over a month after he’d returned to the program.
“It’s an honor for me to speak on behalf of our graduating class,” Hooley said in the release. “I’m looking forward to congratulating everyone on our last four years together, as well as wishing the Class of 2015 the best going forward.”
This is the latest honor bestowed upon Hooley, who also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence in March and the school president’s Outstanding Senior Award. While a number of schools bring in public figures for commencement speeches, Albany’s move has the potential to be even more meaningful as the graduates will see one of their own at the podium.
Leaving the program are freshman guards Wheeler Baker, Max Twyman and Mike Wells. While the 6-foot-5 Twyman and the 5-foot-10 Wells only appeared in 15 games total this season, losing the 6-foot-2 Baker is tough for the Great Danes.
Baker showed flashes as a quick-burst scoring option off the bench this season but he was likely going to be stuck behind Peter Hooley, Ray Sanders and Evan Singletary in the rotation next season. Baker appeared in 30 games and averaged 5.6 points, 1.4 rebounds per game for Albany during the 2014-15 season.
Albany is coming off of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, as they finished last season 24-9 and 15-1 in the America East.