Albany Great Danes

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: America East
Past Conferences: None

City: Albany, NY


Stadium: SEFCU Arena

NCAA Tournaments: 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015

Championships: None

National Championships: None

Conference Titles: 5

Team History

A Division III program for nearly a century, the Great Danes spent two seasons in the 1990s at the Division II level before becoming a Division 1 outfit as an independent for the 1999-2000 season. 

While recent teams have done some great things on the court, perhaps the most instrumental figure in program history was the man who guided it for over four decades before that transition to Division I. That would be Richard “Doc” Sauers, who compiled a 702-333 record from 1955 through 1997 and led the team to several Division III and NAIA postseason appearances.

The America East welcomed Albany along with Stony Brook and Binghamton for the 2001-02 season. Will Brown took over as head coach eight games into that season, which would become a landmark transition for the program. Even though Brown was just 19-57 in his first two-plus seasons, he would soon lead the team on some glorious runs.

The 2004-05 team won 13 games and finished .500 in conference play, signaling the program’s surge to the top of the American East. The next season, led by the program’s all-time leading scorer Jamar Wilson, Albany reached the NCAA Tournament and put a big scare in top-seeded Connecticut in the first round.

The Great Danes led that game by double digits deep into the second half before the Huskies stormed in front and secured a 72-59 win. Albany was on the college basketball map, though, and it cemented itself as the top team in the conference with another trip to the tournament in 2007, this time falling easily to Virginia in the opening round.

Brown led the Great Danes to three more consecutive tourney trips from 2013-15, gaining their only official NCAA Tournament win with a play-in victory over Mount St. Mary’s in 2014. The 2013 run was particularly notable for an upset of the University of Washington in Seattle and a memorable push to the AEC tournament championship as the No. 4 seed, culminating in a stunning win over Vermont on the Catamounts’ home floor that defied the NCAAB odds.

The Great Danes shocked top-seeded Vermont in the tournament the next season before taking on Stony Brook in the finals in what will go down as the greatest finish in program history. Peter Hooley, who left the team during the season to be with his ailing mother, hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to send Albany back to the NCAA Tournament. 

Dwayne Killings took over before the 2021-22 season as a replacement for Brown, who won 315 games in his 20 seasons at the helm. Killings’ first year showcased a team that struggled to score, as the Albany Great Danes team stats ranked 344th in the country in points per game (61.8.)

Killings was embroiled in controversy after being accused of striking a player before a game early in the season. He retained his position following an investigation but he will serve a five-game suspension in 2022-23.

All-Time Records

  • Points Scored
    • Jamar Wilson: 2,164
    • Tim Ambrose: 1,582
    • Mike Black: 1,542

 

  • Rebounds
    • Sam Rowley: 756
    • Greig Stire: 735
    • Levi Levine: 610

 

  • Assists
    • Jamar Wilson: 488
    • Mike Black: 383
    • Peter Hooley: 337

 

  • Wins
    • Will Brown: 315
    • Dwayne Killings: 13
    • Scott Hicks: 11

 

FAQs

What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?

The Great Danes won exactly 24 games three times, doing it all in a four-season span last decade. The 2014-15 team was 24-9 and went 15-1 in conference play, its best showing of all time in the America East.

 

What Was the Worst Season in Program History?

If you told an Albany fan during the 2003-04 season that the team would be in the NCAA Tournament in two years, they would’ve laughed at you. That team went 5-23 and scored 38 points in a first-round loss in the conference tourney.

 

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

Jamar Wilson was an exceptional guard, perhaps among the top five who have ever played at the position in America East history. He is the school’s all-time leader in points, assists, minutes, field-goal attempts, field goals, free-throw attempts, and free throws, and he ranks second all-time in steals.

Wilson scored 29 points in an AEC championship game against Vermont in 2006 and 22 in a repeat victory over the Catamounts in the same round in 2007. Both wins gained Albany’s first two entries into the NCAA Tournament.

 

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