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ALBANY — During the preseason, excitement for what’s ahead is a given.

For Will Amica, whose “favorite thing to do is play basketball,” the present is pretty special, too.

With the exception of several minutes in one game during his rookie season, a variety of injuries have left the 6-foot-0 guard unable to play for the UAlbany men’s basketball program he joined prior to the 2020-21 season. Last season, his second with the Great Danes, Amica missed the entire campaign due to hip injuries that required procedures.

Nowadays?

“My body’s been feeling really good and I’m trying to get in for treatment as much as I can to stay that way,” Amica said at Monday’s Great Danes media day.

Amica was cleared to compete approximately one month ago. He is on track to be available to play when the Great Danes open head coach Dwayne Killings’ second season leading the program with a Nov. 7 game at Towson.

“It’s just good to see him on the floor again. You know, he’s happy,” UAlbany sophomore forward Aaron Reddish said. “He’s getting his groove back, getting back into his rhythm.”

A West Genesee High School product who led his team to a Class AA state championship as a junior, Amica’s potential earned praise over the last few years from Killings and former Great Danes head coach Will Brown. This season, he seems likely to get the opportunity to show Capital Region basketball fans what he can do on the court.

“He thinks like a scorer and a playmaker,” Killings said. “He’s a facilitator. He’s a good organizer.”

Amica is also part of a crowded backcourt with several players in the mix to earn playing time in an offense Killings envisions utilizing multiple playmakers at all times. In an intrasquad scrimmage this past weekend, Killings said Amica impressed with his skill set.

“And he played every minute of it,” Killings said of the 26 minutes of 5-on-5 action the team played. “His body has responded really well.”

Amica said he needs to continue to “focus on the little skills I need to get back” after missing so much court time in recent years. The athletic guard, though, smiled when asked if he’d regained the explosiveness that helped make him into a Division I prospect.

“I’m back on that rim,” Amica said of his leaping ability.

MAKING AN IMPACT

Killings credited freshman walk-on Marcus Jackson, a guard from Amsterdam who played high school basketball at Albany Academy, with setting the tone this preseason for the Great Danes.

“One thing that’s becoming part of our identity really fast is we compete. Our guys really, really compete against each other,” Killings said. “I mean, they’re crashing into the walls, they’re running all over the place because they understand that’s one of the common denominators we need to win — and I will definitely tip my hat to Marcus Jackson [for that]. That kid has raised our competitive level.”

Killings said the 6-foot-2 guard has done that with his hustle and toughness.

“And I love that about him,” Killings said.

EXHIBITION GAMES SET

Killings said Monday that the Great Danes will play exhibition games against two Capital Region foes in the upcoming weeks.

UAlbany will play Oct. 30 against Division III Skidmore in Troy at Hudson Valley Community College, the site of the Great Danes’ home games for the 2022-23 season. UAlbany’s on-campus home court is unavailable for this season due to a $12M renovation project that started in August and is expected to be completed next fall.

UAlbany will play another preseason exhibition game Nov. 2 at Division II Saint Rose in Albany.

UAlbany does not have any closed scrimmages scheduled for its preseason.

STILL TO BE DETERMINED

Some specifics regarding the suspension that Killings will serve have “not yet” been finalized, the coach said Monday.

This past spring, Killings was the subject of a school-led investigation for conduct that occurred prior to a November 2021 game. That investigation “substantiated that there was inappropriate physical contact between Coach Killings and a student-athlete,” and resulted in Killings being issued a five-game suspension for the upcoming season.

It’s unclear, though, if UAlbany’s preseason exhibition games will count toward that suspension. Killings also said it hadn’t been set which of his assistant coaches — Ryan Daly, Bobby Jordan or Dan Madhavapallil — will serve as acting head coach when he is unavailable.

Killings said he expected to discuss such details “some time this week” with UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson.

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