While the NBA waits to make a decision on whether to host its All-Star Game in North Carolina, the state’s controversial bathroom bill has canceled a college basketball game.
Albany’s scheduled visit to Duke on Nov. 12 has been cancelled due to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ban on state-sponsored, non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina in response to HB2, the state’s law that requires transgendered people to use the bathroom as assigned by the gender on their birth certificate, according to the Herald-Sun.
“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina,” SUNY spokesperson Holly Liapsis told the Herald-Sun. “We instructed our campuses to immediately review any existing travel plans by faculty and staff. SUNY and its campuses continue to support the Governor on taking this stand.”
In May, the U.S. Justice Department ruled the law violated the Civil Rights Act, but the state is fighting the decision. While the stakes of such a fight are vast and broad, it’s clear that sports – whether its Albany or the NBA’s signature weekend – will be brought into the fray as it plays out.
New York’s ban won’t affect the state’s highest-profile program, Syracuse, because it is a private institution.
VIDEO: America East’s #OurHouseRules trick shot campaign
With the start of college basketball’s regular season just over a week away, the America East Conference began a special campaign via social media. The #OurHouseRules campaign features each of the nine member schools, with a player (or players, in one instance thus far) from each team making a shot they’d use in a game of HORSE.
The schools are doing this in alphabetical order, so defending tournament champion Albany was first with senior guard Peter Hooley getting things going. Hooley, whose three-pointer in the final seconds of the America East title game sent the Great Danes to the NCAA tournament, successfully drop-kicked a shot in from just beyond half court.
UMBC, UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and Vermont are the five teams who have yet to submit their shots, with UMBC now on the clock to do so. This is a pretty cool idea, especially when it comes to getting the fan bases excited for the start of the season. Who doesn’t like a good trick shot?
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.
Oklahoma must have learned from the problems its fellow No. 3 seeds faced on Thursday as the Sooners held off No. 14 seed Albany for a 69-60 win in the East Regional on Friday night. After witnessing Big 12 conference mates Baylor and Iowa State fall to No. 14 seeds the previous day, Oklahoma jumped out to a 37-28 halftime lead and never let the Great Danes get close enough to strike late in the game.
Senior big man TaShawn Thomas had 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting to lead the Sooners while junior guard Buddy Hield chipped in 15 points. Forward Ryan Spangler just missed a double-double for Oklahoma with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Albany (24-9) made it a game late and it looked like we would have another exciting finish for a 3-14 matchup. Guard Evan Singletary’s 3-pointer with 2:02 left cut the Oklahoma lead to six, but the Great Danes never got closer as the Sooners closed the game with four free throws.
Peter Hooley led four Albany players in double-figures with 15 points. Singletary (13 points), forward Sam Rowley (12 points) and guard Ray Sanders (11 points) also had solid scoring games for the Great Danes.
The Sooners (23-10) advance to face the winner of Providence and Dayton in the Round of 32 on Sunday.