Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Add Wichita St to the 2013 OOC schedule...

... 2 game series. We won't be cupcaked this season... now we need to win a few of these games.

(credit- TI messageboard poster Val)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alabama to play Oklahoma on November 8th

Alabama has agreed to a match-up with Oklahoma on November 8th. The game will take place in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the home court of the Dallas Mavericks. It's part of a four-game event to celebrate the beginning of the college basketball season. The other games are Baylor vs Colorado, Texas vs LSU and SMU vs TCU.

It's yet another piece to what could be a challenging non-conference schedule that already includes a home game against Tubby Smith and Texas Tech, a road game at UCLA, as well as the NIT Tip-Off event that includes potential games against Duke and Arizona.

Alabama could be the favorite in this game. Oklahoma is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, but could be facing a rebuilding season after losing their top three scorers. However, with Lon Kruger on the Sooner bench, this will be far from a walk in the park. In addition to a quality opponent, Alabama will also have an opportunity to shine in a nationally televised event that will be highly anticipated by college basketball fans who will no doubt be jonesing for a basketball fix come November 8th.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Antoine Pettway Promoted

As expected, Anthony Grant announced today that Antoine Pettway has been promoted to assistant coach. Other changes to the coaching staff include John Brannen being promoted to Associate Head Coach. The program has also hired a new strength and conditioning coach, Lou DeNeen, whose previous stops include UAB and Cal. Here is a link.

Congratulations to Antoine Pettway on the promotion. I felt when he was retained by Grant after being hired, it was a bit of a PR move on Grant's part. After working with him for four years, I think Grant now has complete confidence in Antoine to get the job done. Pettway loves the university and he is one of the most popular players in the history of the program so this is a win/win for all involved.

Brannen's move to associate head coach was a no-brainer. He's been with Grant for seven years so they have a familiarity with each other. He's the best choice to take over for Dan Hipsher at this point. Brannen is also becoming a name himself. His name has been mentioned for several vacant jobs the last two seasons. It's just a matter of time before someone gives him an opportunity.

I don't know anything about DeNeen, but the article states, in addition to his college experience, he's also worked with professional players in the NBA, MLB and NFL so he's been around it all.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A-Sun Freshman of the Year Considering Alabama

As we head into the summer, we've seen the Alabama basketball program become a Transfer U of sorts as two players - Ricky Tarrant and Michael Kessens - have already left their former programs for the green green grass of Tuscaloosa.Now comes the news that Anthony Grant and his staff may add another transfer to the mix in Stephen Hurt, a 6-10 285 lb Center from Lipscomb University. Hurt was voted the A-Sun Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds a game this past season.

Hurt, from Murfreesboro, TN, recently asked for his release after Lipscomb fired Scott Sanderson. The word is he's very interested in Alabama. Hurt will probably have to sit out a year per transfer rules, but he could be an instant impact performer in 2014-15 if he does come to Alabama. It would be yet another sign that the Alabama coaching staff is looking to shore up the inside game, which has been an achilles heel at times during the Grant tenure. Hurt would not only give them a big body on the boards, but a scoring presence as well.

And, make no mistake, Hurt is a big body. At 285 lbs, a year off may actually benefit Hurt before he steps back on the court. He weighed as much as 295 this past season at Lipscomb and, based on an article I found online, it appears the Lipscomb coaches were really pushing him to get in better shape. Being that he was "not close to the best shape I can be in", and yet still won A-Sun Freshman of the Year honors speaks volumes about his skill and potential. Hopefully Alabama is in his future.

Obviously, the 2013-14 season remains an important one for the Alabama basketball program in terms of continuing to build momentum and restoring some good faith in the skeptics. It becomes even more important when you consider the fact that the 2014-15 team will return experience, hopefully add some highly rated recruits from the state and will have 2, maybe 3, transfers who should be able to contribute immediately. With the right momentum from a successful 2013-14 campaign, the 2014-15 team could be a legitimate SEC favorite. What it adds up to is that the immediate future of Alabama basketball suddenly looks a lot better than it did the day after the news of Trevor Lacey's decision to transfer.

Update:  Stephen Hurt has decided to enroll at Northwest Florida State College. Northwest was the NJCAA D-1 runner-up this past season. Hopefully Hurt remains on Alabama's radar for the future.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Alabama/UCLA Agree To Home And Home Series

It was reported today by CBS' Jon Rothstein that Alabama and UCLA have agreed to a home and home series beginning next season. Alabama will travel to Pauley Pavilion (Date TBD) and UCLA will make its first visit to Tuscaloosa in the 2014-15 season. Alabama is 1-2 all time against UCLA.

This is good news as it provides Alabama with a name non-conference opponent the next two years and will offer the 2013-14 team a great opportunity at a non-conference resume road win.

UCLA will be undergoing some transition after firing Ben Howland and replacing him with Steve Alford despite Howland's team winning the Pac 12 regular season title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Though the Bruins lost Shabazz Muhammed to the NBA draft, the Bruins will return a solid core highlighted by Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and the Wear twins. This should be a tough test for an Alabama team that will look to avoid early non-conference struggles that have damaged their tournament resumes two out of the last three years.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bama to play Texas Tech on November 14

They are including Texas Tech's return trip as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.  We play them in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, November 14.  It will be the first game of the challenge.

The other matchups are:

Vandy at Texas
auburn at Iowa State
West Virginia at Mizzou
Ole Miss at Kansas State
TCU at Mississippi State
South Carolina at Oklahoma State
Kentucky vs Baylor (Arlington, TX)
Kansas at Florida
Texas A&M v. Oklahoma (Houston, TX)

Looking at these matchups, it will be difficult for the SEC to get 5 wins, in my opinion.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Alabama Lands Second Transfer

It's being reported that Alabama has landed a second transfer in this year's class in Longwood University's, Michael Kessens. A freshman last season, the 6'9, 205 lb Kessens averaged 13.7 ppg and 8.8 reb. Kessens originally hails from Switzerland and didn't begin playing basketball until he was 16. Like Ricky Tarrant, he will have to sit out the 2013-14 season per transfer rules with three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Admittedly, I did not see Longwood play this season so I know little about Kessens and what he will bring to the table, but the size and rebounding ability will be welcomed for a team that has had its fair shortage of both in recent years. Looking at his stats against solid or good competition (Marshall, Arkansas, Creighton, Seton Hall, Georgetown and VCU), Kessens averaged 7.3, 7.1 reb and 1 blk. It remains to be seen if he will be a long-term contributor, but taking a year off to get stronger and learn the system should help the young man. If nothing else, he could grow into a very reliable role player off the bench for Alabama in the years ahead.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Strange story involving Devonta Pollard's mom- Kidnapping?

Jesse Mae Pollard, a longtime teacher and mother of University of Alabama basketball player Devonta Pollard, appeared before a U.S. District Court judge today after she was charged in the kidnapping of a six-year-old girl in Kemper County, Miss.

An Amber alert was issued Wednesday for Jashayla Hopson, who was taken from her school in Scooba, Miss., Tuesday afternoon, and was canceled after Hopson was found Wednesday afternoon near Enterprise, Miss., around 2 p.m.

Jesse Mae Brown Pollard, 54, of Northport appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball in Jackson, Miss., today. The court ruled to detain Pollard pending action by a federal grand jury based on probable cause.

In the criminal complaint filed today, an FBI agent in the Jackson, Miss., office, presented an affidavit with a timeline of the investigation. In it, he writes that investigators talked to Pollard about a "dispute" she had with Hopson's mother.

Okay... now this makes me wonder if Pollard is gonna want to stick around with this going on.