ALBANY — For one, it’s a relatively new relationship.
For another recent UAlbany men’s basketball commit, the connection to new Great Danes head coach Dwayne Killings goes back several years.
Ny’Mire Little and De’Vondre Perry recently committed to play for the Great Danes next season, joining Matt Cerruti, Gerald Drumgoole and Paul Newman as incoming players for the program coming off three consecutive losing seasons.
Little is a recruit from Chester, Pennsylvania, who is completing his high school career at Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Perry will be a graduate transfer from Temple, a school that Killings originally recruited the 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Baltimore to when the current Great Danes coach was an assistant coach at the Philadelphia school.
“Let’s finish what we started,” Perry said was part of Killings’ pitch.
Killings never coached Perry, as the 40-year-old who was named UAlbany’s head coach last month headed to UConn before Perry made it to campus. Killings spent two seasons at UConn and three at Marquette before becoming the Great Danes’ successor to longtime coach Will Brown.
Perry, though, said he stayed in touch with Killings through the years, and described their relationship as one that “goes beyond basketball.” Perry said he wasn’t initially sure if he wanted to use the final year of playing eligibility afforded to him by the NCAA, but eventually opted to delay pursuing a professional career for one more season.
“And when I did decide to put my name into the [NCAA transfer] portal, he was the first to reach out,” Perry said of Killings.
Perry started 36 games and appeared in 104 for Temple. During his time with the Owls, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. At UAlbany, the 22-year-old Perry said he has one goal.
“I want to go to the [NCAA] tournament,” Perry said.
Little, a 6-foot-4 guard, wants to help lead the Great Danes to that level. Little said his best skills on the court have more to do with his ability to lead and make plays for others rather than score.
“That’s really what I’m all about,” said Little, who averaged 16 points, four rebounds and four assists during his final high school season.
Little is the first high school recruit for Killings as a head coach. Little said he instantly felt a bond with Killings.
“He’s a down-to-Earth guy,” Little said. “He was very cool.”
DANES ADD ANOTHER TRANSFER
Drumgoole, a Rochester native who played two seasons at Pittsburgh, is transferring to UAlbany.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the first to report Drumgoole’s transfer Wednesday. A source confirmed to The Daily Gazette that the 6-foot-5 Drumgoole will join the Great Danes’ program.
Drumgoole is expected to be able to play immediately, and has three years remaining of playing eligibility.
At Pittsburgh, Drumgoole averaged 1.4 points and one rebound per game in 30 appearances.