UAlbany men’s basketball program’s offseason underway

UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings speaks at a press conference on Tuesday January 11, 2022.

UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings speaks at a press conference on Tuesday January 11, 2022.

ALBANY — The final record for the UAlbany men’s basketball program was 13-18 in the 2021-22 season, and the campaign ended for the Great Danes in the America East Conference quarterfinals in early March, well before the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments began this week

But Dwayne Killings, who was hired as UAlbany’s head coach a year ago Thursday, could see the positives his team achieved during the season — and, more importantly, the ways to build upon the foundation put in place during the season. 

“Our program won and I think people see it,” said Killings, referencing the big picture for the club, after the team’s final game of the season. “They know it. We’ve done a lot with what we have, and despite a lot of adversity this season.”

There were numerous injuries, a rough 1-7 start, a memorable win against Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a strong stretch that saw the club win nine of 14 games, and a disappointing three-game losing streak to close the campaign.

More UAlbany – The Daily Gazette

Now, the offseason is underway for the Great Danes who will try to avoid their program’s fifth consecutive losing season in 2022-23. As that offseason gets going for UAlbany, Killings recently discussed with The Daily Gazette a variety of topics related to what’s ahead for the Great Danes.


A bright spot for the Great Danes in 2021-22 was the play of freshman Justin Neely who won America East Rookie of the Year.

Killings expects UAlbany’s only signed recruit for next season, Jonathan Beagle, to do the same.

“I think he’s going to be rookie of the year. That’s how highly I think of him,” Killings said of Beagle, a 6-foot-9 frontcourt player who is from Hudson Falls and has spent the last two seasons at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut. “He’s a really versatile kid at his position, can rebound, pass, can really score and defend.”

Killings said he envisions Beagle playing the 5 for the Great Danes.

“He’s a guy that could be a program changer,” Killings said of Beagle, who chose UAlbany over UMass, Pittsburgh and Vermont.

Along with Neely, fellow UAlbany freshman Aaron Reddish made the America East’s all-rookie team.


It’s college basketball in 2022, so any team’s scholarship situation could change at any moment. As UAlbany’s offseason nears the two-week mark, though, the Great Danes have not had any players head into the NCAA transfer portal yet.

UAlbany has nine scholarship players from the 2021-22 season with remaining eligibility. That group includes Jarvis Doles and Jamel Horton, who both were honored at senior day, while that collection of players does not include Matt Cerruti — also honored at senior day — who could seek an extra playing season via an NCAA waiver.

Killings said he expects it to take several weeks for UAlbany’s current players to decide what they’re interested in doing for next season.

Division I men’s basketball teams are able to use up to 13 scholarships.

More Sports – The Daily Gazette


One of the impressive stories of UAlbany’s season belonged to Matt Cerruti, who transferred from the Division II level to UAlbany and earned a third-team all-conference selection in the America East.

After Killings’ hire last year, the first new player to commit to UAlbany was Cerruti. Seeking “kids that get missed on or kids who work themselves into really good players” from the Division II or III levels is something Killings said he planned to do as a head coach, and plans to continue.

“We just want to find good players who want to be a part of our program and help us win,” Killings said.


If he’s able, Killings said he wants to keep his coaching staff intact.

“I think I was really lucky with the staff we put together,” Killings said. “I think that we do have guys that are attractive, though, to other [coaches] as they build staffs.”

Killings’ assistant coaches for the 2021-22 season were Matt Griffin, Dannton Jackson and Hamlet Tibbs, while Dan Madhavapallil served as director of basketball operations, KJ Baptiste was director of recruiting and video, and Matt Cioce was a graduate assistant.

“I think that they all aspire to grow,” Killings said. “Now, I don’t think that they’re actively looking [to leave], but I think they may be sought out to potentially join somebody else’s coaching staff.”

Numerous times this season, Killings expressed a desire for the program to gain more resources to use. Killing said the program “built up our fundraising efforts” during the 2021-22 season, and that’s something he wants to continue, partially with an eye on helping with expenses for items such as higher salaries for members of the coaching staff.

“Part of our ability to have success moving forward is just [keeping] the continuity of our staff,” Killings said. “If we can protect that for a little longer, I’d love to.”

More UAlbany – The Daily Gazette


One game of interest that’s well-known to be on UAlbany’s schedule for next season: an Albany Cup matchup with Siena at MVP Arena in downtown Albany.

The highlights of the 2021-22 non-conference season for UAlbany were the team’s several “guarantee” games, a term that denotes a game that one team pays money to the other to play. The Great Danes were 1-3 in those games against Boston College, La Salle, Kansas State and Kentucky — and netted more than a quarter of a million dollars from those games for the school.

“There’s a business of basketball that we’re trying to think about when we build our schedule,” Killings said. “So we’ll look at some other [high-major] teams that we could play next season.”

Noting that his club next season will likely be “younger” than this past season, Killings said it’s possible UAlbany could add a game against a lower-division opponent to its schedule for 2022-23. It’s more likely, though, that the Great Danes’ schedule looks similar in composition to the 2021-22 schedule.

“The schedule we had, I thought it was really good for our program, not just on the court, but just helping build the whole program,” Killings said.

More UAlbany – The Daily Gazette


More Sports – The Daily Gazette

Categories: College Sports, Sports, UAlbany

Leave a Reply