ALBANY — At least one UAlbany men’s basketball player will stay with the program after entering the NCAA transfer portal this offseason.
Jamel Horton, who completed his first season with the Great Danes earlier this year, confirmed he plans to play next season for head coach Dwayne Killings at UAlbany after playing for former head coach Will Brown last season. A 6-foot-4 guard from Queens, Horton said Thursday he decided early this week to return to the Great Danes.
“I see where he’s headed with the program,” Horton said of Killings. “The energy and the love [coaching staff has] shown, that’s been unmatched. They’re in it with us.”
He added: “For me, that was enough. It feels super-genuine.”
A transfer to UAlbany last offseason from Pratt Community College in Kansas, Horton was one of UAlbany’s top performers in 2020-21. After starting the season as a reserve, Horton took over from Jojo Anderson — now in the transfer portal — as the team’s starting lead guard, and averaged 9.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
He regularly received plaudits as one of the team’s top defensive players, and was at his best in the games that mattered most for the Great Danes. In the America East Conference tournament, Horton averaged 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game in the Great Danes’ two postseason contests.
After the season, Horton was one of several Great Danes to enter into the NCAA transfer portal. Only one, though, has publicly committed to playing for a new program. That player is Antonio Rizzuto, a second-team all-conference player last season in the America East Conference who will play next season at Towson.
UAlbany has been holding workouts since hiring Killings, and Horton said he had several conversations with the coach in the last couple weeks. Initially, after Brown’s dismissal, Horton said he was “confused” and “all over the place” regarding what to do next, but quickly became comfortable with the idea of playing for Killings.
“Everyone has good things to say about [him],” Horton said.
Killings has said each of the players on UAlbany’s 2020-21 roster is welcome to stay with the program, and declined as recently as Wednesday to set up a deadline for current players to decide if they will stay with the program. Horton said he hasn’t discussed much with teammates whether they’re staying or going.
“At the end of the day, it’s about what’s best for them,” Horton said. “Selfishly, I want everyone to be here, but, if they’re not, I understand that.”