It’s a long way from Australia to Albany, N.Y.
The Albany basketball team has found a way to bridge the two locales, however, and it has paid dividends.
Albany, which visits UNLV on Saturday, has three starters from Australia. That includes the team’s two best players, Peter Hooley and Sam Rowley.
The program’s collection of Australian players happened almost by accident in 2010.
A former assistant coach for the Albany women’s team was an Australian who tipped the men’s staff off to a player named Luke Devlin.
Devlin, who has since graduated, came to play for Will Brown at Albany, then Hooley and Rowley followed.
Rowley’s younger brother Mike is also a starter for the Great Danes, who won 19 games last season and played in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Albany, picked second in the America East, has its sights set on a return trip this season.
The Australians are a big reason.
Hooley is averaging 14 points, four rebounds and a team-high four assists per game as the Great Danes are off to a 2-2 start.
Albany lost a tight game at Providence and suffered an overtime setback against Quinnipiac.
Sam Rowley has led the team in rebounds in each game this season. He is averaging 11 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Mike Rowley is posting seven points and six rebounds per game.
Albany has also found another scoring option in junior college transfer Evan Singletary. The guard scored 18 points in his Division 1 debut against Providence and is averaging 11.5 points through four games.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.