Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Levi Randolph Signs with Boston Celtics + A Few Words About the Ferguson Commitment

This is a few days late, but Levi Randolph has been signed by the Boston Celtics and will attend their training camp. It will be an uphill battle for Levi to make the final roster, but worst case scenario is that he will spend some time with the Celtics developmental team while waiting for a roster opportunity in Boston. Levi was also fielding offers from overseas prior to signing with the Celtics so that could also be a future opportunity. The important thing is that basketball is in Levi's future. I wish him the best of luck. He was, at times, an enigmatic player on the court during his four years, but he represented the university with a great deal of class and humility. He will be an easy guy to pull for.

DJC has covered the Terrance Ferguson commitment in his post below. I wanted to piggy back on what he wrote, and briefly add a few thoughts of my own.

I can't state it enough how important this commitment is for Avery Johnson. He needed to send a message in recruiting. He did that to some extent in salvaging the 2015 class, adding a 4-star player late in Kobie Eubanks, filling all 13 roster spots. But the commitment of Ferguson - a top 10-15 rated player overall in the deep and talented 2016 class - delivered a loud message that Avery Johnson and his staff are not going to take a backseat to anyone in the SEC or even the nation. They're going to attempt to build a fence around the state of Alabama, but they're also going to look far and wide for talent outside the region. Just my opinion, but the football-rich Southeast simply isn't producing the basketball talent that is emerging in the Southwest or has existed for decades in the Northeast, Midwest or West Coast. Tapping into these areas, offering these kids something outside the box with the chance to attend school in a different region of the country and a head coach with NBA experience as a player and coach is something that I think can be successful for this staff moving forward. 

My skepticism of Avery Johnson initially wasn't so much his ability to be media savvy or recruit well - his time at ESPN educated him in the power and use of the media, and his affable personality and pro experience were going to help him with recruits - but could he x and o with the best of a growing stable of great coaches in the SEC? That skepticism remains to some extent, and will remain until we see how he handles game situations, but everything the guy has done up to this point has been excellent. For all of his skills as a program builder and coach, Gregg Marshall would not have been celebrating a Terrance Ferguson commitment today. Avery Johnson is going to open up Alabama basketball recruiting in a way that we haven't seen in a long time, maybe never. If his in-game coaching and player development comes close to what he's done off the court to this point, we could be on the verge of witnessing something very fun in the years ahead. Terrance Ferguson could be the first step into a larger world. 

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