Friday, April 26, 2019

Offseason Post #4: The Andrew Steele Returns Home Edition

It's not official yet, but it's being reported that former Alabama basketball player Andrew Steele will be returning to Tuscaloosa for a position with Coach Oats staff. The reports say that he's likely to be hired as the director of player personnel. Previously, Andrew was the director of basketball operations at Troy University. Prior to Troy, Andrew was also the director of basketball operations at South Alabama and spent two years as the head basketball coach at John Carroll High School. Andrew always struck me as a standup guy when he was a player, and I think I speak for many when I say I'm excited to have him back in Tuscaloosa.

In Other News: 

1] Former Alabama assistant coach Yasir Rosemond was named in federal court on Thursday as part of testimony given by Marty Blazer. Rosemond was one of several college basketball assistant coaches named by Blazer, who is cooperating with the government's investigation into bribery and corruption in college athletics. Blazer has pleaded guilty to a number of crimes, including wire fraud and lying to the SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission). He's facing 67 years in prison, which would be my guess as to why he's cooperating with the investigation.

According to journalists covering the trial, Rosemond was videotaped at a meeting in Las Vegas with Blazer, agent runner Christian Dawkins and undercover FBI agents in July 2017. At this meeting, he allegedly told those in attendance that "whatever you need me to do, I'll do it." in an effort to gain resources to aid in recruiting. However, it's also being reported that Rosemond did not receive any money at that meeting. Furthermore, Blazer testified that Rosemond and the other assistants named didn't receive money because they didn't have enough pull yet with prospects. I recommend clicking the link above for more information. As if the basketball revelations weren't enough, Blazer also testified to paying college football players, including players at the University of Alabama.

You may remember that Rosemond was hired by Avery Johnson in May 2017, just two months before this alleged meeting took place. It was in September 2017 when former assistant athletics director Kobie Baker resigned after it was discovered by a UA internal investigation that he was involved with an agent runner that was seeking to establish a relationship with Collin Sexton and his family. In my opinion, this latest bit of evidence doesn't make Avery Johnson look good. I've never believed that Kobie Baker was acting on his own when he allegedly attended a meeting with this runner, Collin and his father. If Avery didn't know, he was either incompetent or he just didn't want to know. In addition to that, Avery then hires a guy that would be in a hotel room with shady characters and undercover FBI agents two months later. Not a good look, that's all I'm saying.   


2] Dazon Ingram made it official earlier this week that he will not be returning to Alabama for a final season. Instead, he will be taking his talents to Orlando to play for Johnny Dawkins and UCF. I wish Dazon the best of luck as he prepares for his final college season.

3] The coaching staff is working overtime on the recruiting trail at the moment. So much in fact that I'm going to plan to do a recruiting post this weekend in an attempt to catalog all of the offers that the staff has made in the last week or so (it's a busy weekend for me so no guarantees). But they are also pursuing transfers. One of those transfers is RJ Cole, a 6'1, 185 lb guard from Howard University. Cole was the leading scorer in the MEAC this past season (21.4 ppg) and was named the MEAC Player of the Year, and was also named an AP All-American honorable mention. In two seasons at Howard, Cole averaged 22.5 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4 rpg, and 1.8 spg. He will have to sit out a year if he does transfer. So far, he has scheduled two visits: Alabama on May 1-3, and Uconn on May 9-11. He has no shortage of suitors however, and other schools are hoping to get him on campus. One more thing to keep in mind: Cole has put his name in the NBA Draft process without an agent. The expectation is he'll return to college and complete the transfer, but you never know how these things might go.

4] Another transfer that the staff are pursuing is former McDonald's All-American Jahvon Quinerly, a 6'1 175 lb guard. Quinerly spent his freshman season at Villanova, but it didn't go well for him. He struggled to earn playing time (9.1 mpg), and had an unremarkable freshman season as a result. What led to those struggles is unknown, but the Alabama staff obviously feels they can help the young man get back on track. They have already met with him and his parents. The key will be can they get him on campus for a visit because he will have no shortage of other schools recruiting him. He will have to sit out a year, but will have three years of eligibility remaining.  

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