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.