Adam Lulka leaving UAlbany to pursue education in Australia

Australia

Had he used his remaining basketball eligibility for the University at Albany, Adam Lulka would be 25 years old by the time he left the campus.

Lulka, a two-time America East all-academic team selection, believed he needed to pursue his career goals earlier than that.

He informed the Times Union on Monday that he plans to leave UAlbany at the end of this semester and will head back to his homeland of Australia to further his education.

“It’s time to get out in the real world, start a life, start earning some money so I can help myself out that way, as well,” said Lulka, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward from Sydney. “I want to pursue an academic career and hopefully get a job as a psychologist. If I can get a sports psychology degree, that would be great, so I can stay in the sports field.”

Lulka, who turns 23 in May, spent four years at the university. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology in the fall — with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average — and will have put in a year toward his master’s degree when he resumes his education in Australia.

“My career path is focused more on being a sports psychologist or being a clinical psychologist,” Lulka said. “I don’t see myself playing pro basketball in the future. I talked to my parents, and I figured the best way to achieve that is to study back home.”

He and fellow Australians Cameron Healy and Brett Hank all redshirted their first seasons and figured to be the foundation of the Great Danes program as they became upperclassmen. As a freshman, Lulka started all 32 games, averaging 8.7 points, a team-high 6.4 rebounds and 30.1 minutes per game. He was off to a strong start as a sophomore until an ankle injury in the season’s third game at Manhattan sidelined him for much of the season. Lulka’s per-game stats dropped to 4.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 20.9 minutes in 19 appearances, four starts.

This season, which ended with the dismissal of coach Will Brown after a 7-9 record, was a disaster for Lulka and his fellow Aussies. Lulka, after recovering from a broken nose in the preseason, averaged just 3.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 13.6 minutes. Healy, a preseason all-America East selection, averaged 11.4 minutes as he battled an oblique injury. Hank, after starting 54 of 59 games his first two seasons, played 13 minutes total in 2020-21.

“There isn’t really a college basketball thing in Australia,” Lulka said. “There are clubs and local associations that I might play for. It will be more of a social thing, no professional stuff or anything. It will be fun to play socially and step away from the more competitive and more serious side of it. I enjoy playing with my friends, but the main focus for me will be pursuing my master’s degree, and maybe a doctorate in the future.”

Both Healy, a 6-3 guard, and Hank, a 6-10 center, will get their undergraduate degrees this spring. Healy put his name in the transfer portal shortly after Brown’s departure. Hank appears to be leaning toward returning home. Both would have two years of eligibility remaining.

Lulka said he did have the opportunity to talk to new UAlbany coach Dwayne Killings about his situation.

“He’s a great guy,” Lulka said. “He’s going to be great for the program. He was completely supportive, completely understanding. He offered to help me out with whatever I need. He’s honestly a great coach from what I’ve heard and the guys I’ve spoken to.”

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