#HLMBB Starting Five – Classic Edition

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There’s plenty to dive into in this edition of the #HLMBB Starting Five, as the off-season brings all kinds of news, both on the court (including some thousands of miles away), and off the court (sort of).

Antoine the King

When last we saw Antoine Davis, he was finishing out a solid rookie season in the G League with the Rip City Remix. With that stint over, the all-time leading scorer in Horizon League history is in search of a new home for next season, and what better place to showcase what you’ve got than the NBA Summer League?

As Jack Gohlke (Thunder) began his Summer League in Salt Lake City (more on him later), while Tristan Enaruna (Celtics), Kam Hankerson (Pistons) and Vin Baker, Jr. (Bucks) have their Summer League journeys beginning in Las Vegas, Davis signed on with the Sacramento Kings for the California Classic. The Kings, interestingly enough, fielded two teams for the Classic: one playing in Sacramento, and one playing in San Francisco. Davis would end up playing on the San Francisco squad for the first two games, then on the Sacramento squad for the Kings’ tilt against Charlotte.

Davis wasn’t the only former Horizon League player to get picked up by one of the Kings squads. D’Moi Hodge, who was at Cleveland State before ultimately following Dennis Gates top finish out his college career at Missouri, is also a part of the Sacramento team Davis is on. This also reunited Hodge and Davis, who played on the Remix together after Hodge was traded from the South Bay Lakers.

While Hodge’s California Classic has been uneventful, not playing in the first two contests, Davis’, on the other hand, has been quite the opposite. As the rest of the world watched as Bronny James made his Lakers Summer League against the Kings, it was Davis was put on a show in a strong supporting role to Adonis Arms, who dropped 32 points and grabbed 11 boards. Davis, for his part, would cap the Kings’ 108-94 win over the Lakers with 20 points that included a scorching 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.

It’s too early to tell whether this Summer League gig will eventually translate to Davis returning to the G League or, at best, being offered a two-way deal. But he has certainly made a statement that he continues to be a prolific scorer and can make a contribution somewhere next season.

Jack’s Back

As Davis made is presence known in the California Classic, Jack Gohlke also got a head start on Summer League play, as he’s on the Oklahoma City Thunder roster for both Las Vegas and prior to that, three games across three days in Salt Lake City. While there are no other Horizon League players on the Oklahoma City squad, the is Tre Mitchell, the Kentucky big man who watched as Gohlke scorched the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament and inevitably sent them packing.

However, Gohlke’s debut in Salt Lake City was that of a spectator, getting zero minutes in the Thunder’s 102-92 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. In the second game against the Utah Jazz, it seemed like we wouldn’t see Gohlke again. But then, near the end of the game, this happened:

Given his limited playing time, you can probably guess that you won’t see much of him in the remaining Salt Lake City game or in Vegas. But when you do, you can probably expect things like that to happen.

Details on the New Cleveland State AD Contract

It’s been a little over a month and a half since Cleveland State offer interim athletic director Kelsey Gory Harkey a one-year deal on the job, and thanks to the magic of FOIA requests, we have obtained the details of her deal, which is slated to end on May 31, 2025. After that, it’s reported that she’ll return to her associate AD role and a new athletic director will take the helm.

Here’s the full employment agreement, if you wish to peruse it on your own.

Naturally, we wanted to compare and contract Gory Harkey’s contract with the extension signed by her predecessor, Scott Garrett, which Jaden Stambolia, then the editor-in-chief of CSU’s student newspaper, The Cauldron, posted, along with the contracts of men’s basketball coach Daniyal Robinson and women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier.

Most of language from both contracts are pretty standard legalese and nearly identical. There were some differences, of course. One was the longevity bonus that Garrett was slated to receive each year for the remainder of his deal (originally scheduled for June 30, 2026), that would have netted him an additional $45,000 in total.

The second difference was the base salary. Garrett, in his extension, was to receive $205,000 per year. Gory Harkey’s salary, on the other hand, will come under that, at $180,000. Given Cleveland State current financial situation, the reduction in the AD salary, coupled with Gory Harkey’s associate athletic director role not being filled during her tenure in the top spot, should provide Athletics with a little bit of budget relief, at least for this school year.

Finally, the most striking of the contract differences was the incentives structure. While Gory Harkey and, previously, Garrett, could net as much as $30,000 in bonuses for meeting fundraising, academic and athletic performance benchmarks, only Garrett’s included a bonus structure for men’s basketball ticket revenues. It’s weird that part was omitted, seeing has how incentivizing a boost in ticket sales wouldn’t be a bad idea, once again citing CSU’s current financial outlook.

On a personal note, as a former Cauldron alum, I’d love to know what happened over there. Seems like nobody works there at the moment.

An Ex-Horizon League Player in the Olympics (And Not the One You Think)?

In June, I wrote a feature on former Youngstown State star Kendrick Perry and his career playing overseas. It included that as a dual citizen of the U.S. and Montenegro, had the opportunity to represent the Balkan nation’s team for a shot at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Sadly, the Montenegrin team did not advance to the elimination round during the qualifier in Riga, Latvia (Brazil would eventually take win and advance to Paris).

While Perry’s Olympic dream was cut short, it appears that another ex-Horizon League player may very well make it to Paris. South Sudan punched its ticket to the Games last September, besting its follow African teams to qualify. In April, South Sudan and its coach, former NBA player Royal Ivey (assisted by none other than Luol Deng), compiled a list of 50 potential national team members and, in June, whittled that down to 25, all of which were invited to the team’s training camp.

Among them? Ex-Detroit Mercy player Bul Kuol.

During the 2020-21 season, Kuol was a key complement to Antoine Davis in the Titan backcourt, starting all 22 contests and racking up an impressive 15.6 points and 4.8 boards per game. Afterwards, Kuol made his way home to Australia, where he spent three seasons with the Cairns Taipans in the NBL and has recently returned to the league with the Sydney Kings after a one-year stint in France.

Having been born in South Sudan, Kuol has been eligible to be a part of their national team, and has been on the squad on multiple occasions, which included the qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. While South Sudan qualified, Kuol was sidelined with a wrist injury.

The final roster has yet to be set for South Sudan, but Kuol may very well make the cut and be headed to Paris. Should that happen, it would mark the third Olympics in a row that an ex-Horizon League player participated, as Loyola-Chicago’s Blake Schilb (Czech Republic) played in 2020, and Valpo’s Ryan Broekhoff (Australia) played in 2016.

Mr. Roberts Goes to Hollywood

Every now and again, something intriguing catches your attention like, say, a former Horizon League player appearing in a movie. So imagine my surprise when perusing the HoriZone Roundtable Instagram account and coming across the Stories post from Anthony Roberts, who spent that last two seasons with Purdue Fort Wayne.

It turns out, Roberts was cast as part of the movie Mr. Hit Me Up, a movie produced by and starring Malik Peer and Jelen Trey Bell, with the latter serving as the director. Here’s the synopsis, from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB):

Lifelong best friends, two men seemingly beat the trauma of their childhood. One held in a fatal secret he could no longer suppress. A podcast would challenge that love and expose the deepest of secrets of the other as he unintentionally falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend in this spiraled drama. Who does he choose?

Roberts plays Tori Simmons, an aspiring NBA player that Bell’s character, Kash, is working to represent as his agent.

You can watch Mr. Hit Me Up on Tubi. And if you want to fast-forward to Roberts’ part, you can see him at the 20:30 mark and at the 44:30 mark.

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