Albany

Jordan at the helm as acting head coach as UAlbany men’s basketball opens with trip to Towson, Immaculata

UAlbany acting head coach Bobby Jordan.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

UAlbany acting head coach Bobby Jordan.

ALBANY — Bobby Jordan didn’t join the UAlbany men’s basketball coaching staff until July, when a series of departures on his staff left Great Danes head coach Dwayne Killing with multiple vacancies to fill.

Killings convinced Jordan, a long-time friend in the coaching community, to come to the Capital Region just months after Jordan had started another new job, leaving Wagner for Saint Peter’s along with head coach Bashir Mason.

After that whirlwind summer and fall, Jordan will be the one at the helm for UAlbany on Monday night in Towson, Maryland when the Great Danes open their season with a 7 p.m. non-conference matchup against CAA preseason favorite Towson.

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“It’s been an unbelievable experience for me, coming here in late July and really building a relationship with these guys,” Jordan said last Tuesday following an exhibition game against Saint Rose. “Seeing them from when I first started to who they are now as players, who they are as people, that’s why you coach — to see growth in your guys.”

Jordan is serving as UAlbany’s acting head coach while Killings serves a five-game suspension resulting from a school-led investigation into the head coach for conduct that occurred prior to a November 2021 game. The investigation “substantiated that there was inappropriate physical contact between Coach Killings and a student-athlete,” and resulted in Killings being issued the suspension and a $25,000 fine. 

Jordan coached the Great Danes last week in their preseason exhibitions against Skidmore and Saint Rose, and will do so for UAlbany’s season-opening road trip, with games on back-to-back nights against Towson and Division III Immaculata. Killings will return Saturday to coach the Albany Cup against Siena at MVP Arena, before serving the final game of his suspension Nov. 14 against Division III Union.

The two exhibitions in which Jordan led the Great Danes were both struggles, with second-half comebacks necessary to pull out a 71-69 win over Division III Skidmore and a 73-66 victory against Division II Saint Rose.

Graduate student guard Sarju Patel said that UAlbany got plenty of lessons to take away from both exhibitions, but neither showed the team at its full capacity.

“Two exhibition games really isn’t enough time to find out about anything,” Patel said. “That happens during the course of the season, and come league play. I know that we’re a gritty team, we’re versatile, and hopefully these two games show that we’ll find a way to win over the course of the season.”

AN INCOMPLETE PRODUCT

The Great Danes weren’t at full strength for either exhibition contest, and they won’t be for their season opener, either.

Of greatest concern is the status of reigning America East Rookie of the Year Justin Neely, who missed both exhibitions with a nagging shoulder injury. Jordan said following the Saint Rose matchup that the sophomore forward wasn’t expected to be available for the opener.

“For right now, he won’t be back on Monday,” Jordan said. “He’s doing a great job of rehabbing and getting better, and I believe we’ll have him back very soon.”

Junior guard Malik Edmead also missed both exhibitions with an ankle injury. Sophomore forward Aaron Reddish missed the Skidmore game due to a violation of team rules and played just three minutes against Saint Rose, while neither sophomore guard Will Amica nor junior forward Japannah Kellogg played against Saint Rose.

Patel and freshman guard Marcus Jackson were the only two UAlbany players to start both exhibition games as Jordan tinkered heavily with his lineups. 

“We’ve had guys banged up, we’ve had guys injured,” Jordan said. “Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been playing different lineups and playing different guys at different positions.”

Graduate student guard Da’Kquan Davis was the Great Danes’ top scorer during their exhibitions with 20 points in each game.

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SCOUTING TOWSON

The Tigers went 25-9 in 2021-22, including a 15-3 mark in CAA play, but lost to Delaware in their conference tournament before an early NIT loss to Wake Forest. Towson was picked to finish first in the CAA preseason poll and had three All-CAA Preseason First-Team selections in Nicolas Timberlake, Charles Thompson and Cam Holden.

The two teams also met in last year’s season opener at SEFCU Arena in Albany, with Towson powering to a 77-56 win to hand Killings the loss in his debut as head coach.

Categories: College Sports, Sports, Sports, UAlbany

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