The Great Danes received their third Australian pledge of the 2017 Class when Montverde Academy’s, Cameron Healy committed to the New York school on Monday.
His new teammates will consist of Brent Hank – a 6’10 centre from Port Lincoln, South Australia – and Adam Lulka – a 6’8 forward out of Sydney.
The Aussie boys, however, are not unfamiliar to each other.
Healy and Hank were teammates on the AUSA April AAU Tour, where their stellar play resulted in a host of scholarship offers. It was here that Albany coaches saw their first glimpse of the duo on the AAU circuit. Needless to say, they were impressed.
Healy and Lulka are no strangers either, having been high schools rivals at The Scots College and The King’s School respectively.
And when they weren’t going at each other during the season, they were teammates on consecutive GPS representative sides, and both led the 2013 U16 NSW Metro team to a silver medal finish.
What started in Australia for the three budding stars will culminate in four years together at the American East Conference (AEC) powerhouse.
And with the long line of successful Australians that have passed through the Albany program, there’s no sign of the recruiting pipeline drying up anytime soon. There’s also little reason to think that these players won’t be just as successful as their Australian brethren.
UAlbany strikes gold in Australia in 2017 class again. This time, 6'2 Combo Guard Cameron Healy, who plays at Montverde Academy at Florida.
— Jason Palatsky (@518SportsJP) August 29, 2016
While Healy was eye-opening on the April AAU circuit, it was his second time around during the July recruiting period where he really separated himself.
Schools lined up to watch the 6’3 guard go toe-to-toe with the best the US has to offer, collecting a handful of scholarships and interest from schools including, Stanford, Pepperdine, Columbia, Princeton, Denver, Canisius, St Francis and Cal Poly.
But it was the Great Danes who managed to “strike gold” by landing Healy’s commitment.
Albany ticks all the boxes: all of the staff are alumni…(they) have gone to the tournament five times and have a winning culture that competes to win every year...Contributing to a winning program would mean a lot. Everyone wants to win. Hopefully when we come as freshmen next year, we can contribute to the program and continue with the winning culture.
Adam and I are close. We overlapped on our visits and thought it was a great place for us both. It’s a big basketball school, has solid academics and a great business school...It’s exciting to see Australian guards having success and going to the NCAA tournament. It makes Adam, Hank and I think of what we could do.
Aussie Cameron Healy is a heck of a commitment for Albany. Kid is tough, gritty, versatile & can score. Liked him with AUSA this summer.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) August 29, 2016
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) July 26, 2016
Healy joins his AAU running mate, Brent Hank, who was the first of the Australians to pledge his allegiance to the Purple and Gold.
As it stands, Hank is the only player over 6’8 and the only “true centre” on Albany’s roster. With this in mind, the 6’10 Hank could be poised for a big freshman year
In my freshman year, I will be working hard and taking on all their developmental advice and hoping to have an opportunity to play. Any minutes I get I will try to make the most of and try my best for the team.
After a recruiting process that resulted in offers from the likes of Robert Morris, Idaho, Valpo and Montana State and interest from Portland State, Boston College and UC Davis, Hank decided it was the perennial tournament contender – Albany – that he was ready to play for.
I think it will feel really good to experience a culture of winning. Playing with a college team that has a purpose to play for each other with the intent of achieving a final goal of a championship ring is exciting. That’s something I want to be a part of.
It’s a culture Hank will be able to contribute to instantly. At 6’10, 235 pounds, the defensive-minded behemoth has the size to compete with any big in the AEC.
A player like Hank – excellent teammate, defensive force, and offensive threat – will always find ways to impact a team, especially a team that wishes to get back to its winning ways.
Albany has been crowned conference champions and made NCAA Tournament appearances three of the last four years (three straight before narrowly missing out on a bid last year).
It would mean a lot to contribute to a winning program. All the years of work and my family’s sacrifices are paying off. I want to be as ready and as strong as I can be to contribute as soon as possible.
The South Australian native finishes confidently around the rim with both hands and uses his size and craftiness to corral offensive boards for easy looks.
The Danes know what they’re getting in Hank: a reliable, consistent player who can contribute in all four years.
Albany made Hank a priority in their recruiting class, flying out to Australia to visit their new recruit prior to his commitment. It’s this loyalty and dedication that Hank rewarded.
It was definitely a big factor in my decision that Albany made me feel really valued. Coach Brown made it clear to me a long time ago that I was a priority for him and that he could see the potential in me as a player. We realised that the recruitment process isn’t a competition – go where you are really wanted and where is a good fit, and I feel like that about Albany.
If I was to be remembered in similar ways to other successful Australian players that have attended Albany, I would be really proud. I want to be remembered as a hard working team player that gave it his all – someone who had an impact on the team and the success of the program. A few championships would be a great way to be remembered, too.
And when Albany picked up the recruitment of Adam Lulka, it went with little fanfare, but it is no small feat.
Lulka was relatively under-recruited for a player of his caliber. Someone with the forward’s unique blend of size, skill, and sneaky athleticism is bound to be successful at the next level.
Knowing I’d have the chance to play alongside Hank and Cambo was a massive plus. I’ve played with both and I get along great with them, so it definitely made choosing Albany easier.
Starting the college journey with fellow Australians and people I’m comfortable with makes the process a lot less daunting and all the more exciting. Being able to share the journey with two mates isn’t something that everyone has the chance to experience, so I’m very thankful that I’d been given the opportunity.
Albany was Lulkas' only offer (@VerbalCommits). Second commit in class after fellow Australian Brent Hank, who committed about a month ago.
— Jason Palatsky (@518SportsJP) August 26, 2016
Probably the biggest “mystery” of those not in the know, Lulka has been dominating the local scene for a while now, and his development is only accelerating. Lulka was a major factor in the 2015 U18 NSW Metro side’s silver medal finish, racking up 9.38 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.5 APG and 1 BPG for the tournament.
Going to a winning program is great. I know I’ll be playing with a bunch of guys that know how to win, and I want to continue the winning tradition.
Lulka’s movement belies his 6’8 frame, as the Sydney-Sider possesses a great motor and ability to run the floor with ease.
Lulka’s bread and butter is in the post, where his deep arsenal of finishing moves makes him an immediate threat every time he gets a touch. He uses his size to get position in the post with ease, where he can finish through people or around them.
Knowing I could come in and help contribute to a winning program would be awesome…I really want to be a big part of the Albany program. After seeing their style of play, I believe that I’ll be able to contribute with my inside scoring and physicality.
Teamming up with Hank in the front court for the next four years will be great, too!
The thought of a twin tower combination of Lulka and Hank is a tantalising prospect.
And when you throw in Healy running the show, the boys have the potential to form their own “Big Three” during their time at Albany, who can disrupt the AEC for a long time to come.