Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Alabama Picked to Finish Fourth in SEC Media Poll

SEC Media Days was held in Nashville today. Avery Johnson traveled with Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram to take part in the event. The media released their preseason poll, and All-Conference teams. Alabama was picked to finish fourth, and Collin Sexton was selected to the preseason All-Conference second team.

The complete poll.

1. Kentucky
2. Florida
3. Texas A&M
4. Alabama
5. Missouri
6. Arkansas
7. Vanderbilt
8. Georgia
9. Auburn
10. Ole Miss
11. South Carolina
12. Mississippi State
13. Tennessee
14. LSU

Quick thoughts: I don't think Kentucky is the runaway favorite they've been in recent years. I understand that it's the safe choice for the media to choose the Wildcats, but the rest of the league, at least for this season, appears to have taken a step closer to the Wildcats. Missouri is intriguing, but I'm a little more skeptical of the Tigers than the media appears to be. No doubt they should be improved, but so is the league. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are probably better this season than 10th and 12th. Auburn is also probably picked too low relative to their talent, but I get it in the wake of the Chuck Person mess.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Top 100 Guard Jared Butler Commits to Alabama

This post is going up late so I'm sure most of you know by now that Jared Butler - a top 100 guard in the class of 2018 - committed to Alabama earlier tonight. This is another recruiting win for the staff. They identified Butler early before his stock rose over the last year. Cultivating that relationship early along with Avery's NBA experience (something that has been mentioned by every recruit that has committed to Alabama during Avery's tenure) ultimately helped Alabama secure Butler's commitment.


We will have to see how the roster shakes out at the conclusion of this season, but it's likely that Butler will be able to earn minutes immediately as a freshman. That no doubt also played a role in his decision to commit.

We're just over three weeks from the start of the season. Roll Tide! Buckle Up!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017-18 Schedule Preview: December

The schedule really picks up in December. Assuming our guys can hold their own in November, the team will have a chance to solidify their non-conference resume with five opponents that could be in the NCAA Tournament come March.

Before we get into that, some news and notes from this past weekend. In addition to the visits I referenced in the previous post (Diante Wood and James Wiseman), Malcolm Dandridge (a 6'8, 200 lb center in the class of 2019) was also on campus. Dandridge and Wiseman both attend East High School in Memphis, and both appear to be top targets for the coaching staff in the 2019 class.

Also of note: Jared Butler (a 6'2, 180 lb point guard in the class of 2018) tweeted that he will announce his college choice tomorrow (Monday, October 16). Alabama is in his final three schools along with Virginia and Baylor. For what it's worth the crystal ball predictions at 247 Sports have Alabama as the favorite to earn his commitment. We will see tomorrow.

Sunday, December 3 - UCF - One of several high profile non-conference games in Coleman this season. UCF had a great season in Johnny Dawkins first season as head coach, finishing 24-12 and reaching the NIT semifinals. Expectations for the Knights should be high entering this season with last season's top scorer B.J. Taylor (17.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.1 spg) returning alongside 7'6 big man Tacko Fall (10.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg). In all, UCF returns roughly 60% of its scoring from last season. Dawkins also added a transfer heavy class, with a total of four D-1 transfers eligible to play for the Knights this season.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bama Hoops News & Notes

Avery Johnson spoke to the media for the first time in preparation for the 17-18 season. Topics covered included the Kobie Baker situation, Riley Norris has a hip injury (Avery says he's week to week in his recovery), one-and-dones, the returning players, the freshman class, the pro day, Tide tipoff, recruiting and the homecoming weekend (several recruits will be on campus for visits - more on that later).

Big recruiting news regarding the 2018 class. Alabama has offered 5-star guard Anfernee Simons. A former Louisville commit, Simons is a 6'3 combo guard from Bradenton, FL. An electric scorer, Simons has become highly sought after in the wake of his decommitment. Florida is considered the favorite as of now. Hit the link for video.

James Wiseman, a top 3 prospect in the class of 2019, will be on campus this weekend for an unofficial visit. Wiseman is a 6'11 forward that can play with his back to the basket, driving to the basket, facing the basket. He can do it all. He will be one of the elite players in what is shaping up to be a very strong 2019 class.

2018 3-star guard Diante Wood will be on campus this weekend for an official visit. Wood's final four schools are Bama, Auburn, South Florida and Colorado State.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

2017-18 Schedule Preview: November

Despite the uncertainty hanging over college basketball as a result of the FBI investigation into the sport's connection with apparel companies, the fact remains that we will be watching games five weeks from now. Between a tough slate of non-conference games and the expectation that the SEC conference will take a step forward this year as a basketball conference, Alabama should have one of the tougher schedules in the country.

Monday, November 6 - Alabama-Huntsville - The 17-18 season tips off with an exhibition game against the D-II Chargers. UAH is a national power at the D-II level. Last season the team finished with a record of 26-8, won their conference tournament title, and were a 1 seed in the national tournament, reaching the south regional of the tournament. The Chargers could be looking at a rebuilding year of sorts this season after 61% of their scoring finished their college careers.

Friday, November 10 - vs Memphis [Annapolis, MD] - The season officially kicks off vs Tubby Smith and the Memphis Tigers. The Tigers finished last season with a 19-13 record, and did not receive a postseason invitation. On paper it looks like a rebuilding season for Memphis after seeing 78% of their scoring from last season depart. I wouldn't count out Tubby Smith, though. He's one of the more underappreciated coaches in the sport.

Tuesday, November 14 - Lipscomb - The home opener will take place against a sneaky good mid-major in Lipscomb. The Bison should be one of the top teams in the Atlantic Sun this season. Lipscomb finished 20-13 last season with no postseason invite. Lipscomb returns 79% of its scoring from last season, including Garrison Mathews (20.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.3 apg).