ALBANY – During his first season with the UAlbany men’s basketball program, Chuck Champion was still largely in recovery mode.
A 6-foot-4 guard, Champion broke his right leg during his final season at Loyola (Md.), and last season due to a lack of consistent practice time — due to issues related to the novel coronavirus pandemic — special A player who suffered an injury typically required extra time on the court to develop rhythm after missing almost all of the 2019-20 campaign. The champion appeared in all 16 games for the Great Dane last season, but the graduate transfer average was less than expected at 17.9 minutes per game.
“I’m 100%,” Champion said Tuesday after practice at the SEFCU Arena. “I feel good — real good. It’s good to feel good to my body.”
The champion averaged 6.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game last season, but during his one year playing for former ULB head coach Will Brown showed glimpses of what he would do this upcoming season with Great Dane head coach Dwayne. What can the first year of Killings provide. After not scoring at all in Ulbani’s first three games last season, the champions went on to score in double digits in five of the team’s final dozen games.
Compared to last season, teammate Jarvis Doles said the champion has been “much more aggressive” in terms of taking up playmaking opportunities during the Great Dane’s pre-season practices.
“He is also taking on a leadership role,” said Dooles, one of six Great Danes returning from last season. “He’s getting more outspoken.”
Killings likes the consistency that the champion has on the court, as well as the shot-making ability the Philadelphia guard has.
“He brings a maturity,” Killings said of Guard, a graduate student in his sixth year of college. “He’s been so nice to us.”
Champion said he plans to continue.
“I believe so, and this year we are ready to help our people be the best they can be,” Champion said.
In Ulbani practice this season, a new fixture of the sideline scene is a TV with an almost live feed of the action on the court.
The footage playing on the screen has a delay of about 20 seconds, and allows the Great Dane coaching staff an additional learning tool.
“If a guy makes a mistake, we can go on TV and point things out in real time,” Killings said.
And, if the players feel that a foul was called by mistake. . .
“We Can [rewatch] This,” the champion said with a smile.
Killings said that Jay Baptiste, the program’s director of recruiting and video, had the idea of installing the TV. Baptiste was the graduate assistant manager at Penn State for the past two seasons, which had a similar setup.
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