Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Reggie Witherspoon replaces Tony Pujol on staff

Witherspoon spent 14 years as the head coach of Buffalo.  He had one NIT appearance and a 3 CBI/College insider trips.  He had an overall record of 197-225, conference record of 96-142.  From what I have read, his teams were known mostly for their solid defense.

There seemed to be some issues with the staff last season, just based on the coaching staff's interactions on the bench during games.  Obviously I'm in no position to say whether Pujol was responsible for that or not, but generally speaking I am not opposed to making some changes after the worst season in decades.

The positives:  He has connections to the talent rich Northeast so maybe he can help us pull some recruits from that area, although I wish he were from the city rather than upstate NY.  Being a former head coach has its advantages, and I suspect Coach Grant missed having that experience on the bench when Hipsher left. He brings experience to the table and a philosophy that Coach Grant is comfortable with.

The negatives:  He's never really been an assistant coach.  Since being an assistant in high school, he's been head coach of a high school team and a Juco team before taking over Buffalo.  It could be difficult for him to transition into the assistant role.  Furthermore, he doesn't really seem to bring a skill to the table that Coach Grant staff don't already have.  If he was known for landing/developing big men or an innovative offensive approach, I would be more excited.

Bottom line:  We probably needed to make some sort of staff changes, and a top notch assistant is not going to jump onto what many currently perceive as a sinking ship.  In any event, welcome Coach Witherspoon, I hope this proves to be a good fit and opportunity for everyone involved.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jeff Garrett has signed to play basketball for Alabama.

From the Gadsden Times....

TUSCALOOSA — Former Gadsden City standout Jeff Garrett has signed to play basketball for Alabama.

Alabama men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant said in a university release Monday that the 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward had signed a National Letter of Intent with the Crimson Tide.

Garrett, who originally is from Gadsden, played the 2013-14 season at Oldsmar Christian School in Oldsmar, Fla.

As a senior at Oldsmar Christian, Garrett averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game.

Prior to joining Oldsmar Christian, Garrett averaged a double-double for Gadsden City. He averaged 14.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for the Titans as a junior.

Garrett was a member of The Gadsden Times’ All-Etowah County first team for 2012-2013 season.

So, at one point, Gadsden City had potentially 3 D-1 prospects on the same basketball team. Garrett and the others all transferred out, including Rakim Lubin (UConn signee), and 7'0" rising senior Trey Kalina (uncommitted as of yet)....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hiring and firings- Coaching Carousel 2014

We mentioned the SEC ones in the previous post and comments... here is a tally of moves so far.

Haith was a horrible hire for Mizzou and I bet they are thanking Tulsa for taking him from them. Mizzou's AD obviously noticed the attendance issue this season there... a place that normally sells out (or close to it) and probably put the bug in Haith's ear to look around kinda like Trent Johnson did at LSU a few years back.

Tennessee can't be happy as now they are competing with Mizzou for a marquee head coach. Add to that UTK isn't in a good financial situation I suspect they find one 'on the cheap' while Mizzou grabs a mid-major coach to easily replace Haith.

Finding a coach 'on the cheap' isn't necessarily a bad thing... probably more value in grabbing a top assistant for a HC job than bringing one in from a mid-major... something we will probably do when the time comes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cuonzo Martin to leave UTK for Cal job?

I guess all of the rehire Bruce Pearl talks got tiresome. Is Anthony Grant a candidate now?


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

What do you think about Northwestern unionizing and the reaction from the NCAA pres?

Article about NU getting the right to unionize.
Coach urges Northwestern players to not join union.
NCAA president opposes union (shocking).

My 2 cents... I like where this is heading. While I am not generally a fan of unions, in this case with college athletics I am. The term "student-athlete" hasn't been applicable in over 20 years with the revenue the universities generate through TV deals, selling of jerseys, etc. I'm kinda liking this whole bogus model being blown to pieces and having something more fair to the athletes in its place (and let's be honest, most of them wouldn't be in college if given the choice).

Obviously there is a slippery slope here. Not all DI schools make money on college sports (football and basketball) so there will have to be a dividing line between the revenue generators and ones that actually have student-athletes which from my understanding is being talked about now within the NCAA (which only happened because the Northwestern union was allowed).

I wish the NFL and NBA would do more as far as farm leagues to accommodate those kids that don't want to be in college at all. The NBA does have the NBDL, but is sorely underutilized. Basketball also has international leagues (dozens of former Bama players are out there) to hone their skills. Neither are million dollar jobs, but it's a decent paycheck doing something they love and an avenue to possibly make it to the big leagues (see Alonzo Gee).


Monday, April 07, 2014

Projecting the Schedule

College basketball will come to its conclusion tonight when Kentucky faces Uconn in the national title game. Following that game, it will be a long seven months before the greatness of college basketball returns. Sadly, Bama fans started looking forward to next season weeks ago after Alabama lost to LSU in the SEC tournament. Next season looms large for Bama basketball as Anthony Grant and his staff will be under the microscope from start to finish following a 13-19 season and the traumatic effect on a percentage of the fanbase following the hire of Bruce Pearl at Auburn. Despite the support from Bill Battle for Anthony Grant this offseason, you get the feeling it's do-or-die next season for this coaching staff.

Despite the pressure, I'm looking forward to next season. While the loss of a player like Trevor Releford will certainly sting, I think this Alabama team has a chance to be much more balanced next season assuming attrition, injuries, etc, remain at a minimum. There will be a nice mix of returning players, impact newcomers and a freshman class with a lot of promise. Add it all together and I'm hoping we will all be on the same team as fans next season come March.

While the schedule won't be officially released until well into the summer, we are able to begin piecing it together based on comments made by Anthony Grant at his recent press conference as well as the scheduling format used by the conference to project the league schedule. Here's what we know so far:

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Attrition and Injuries

It's already been discussed in the comments below, but in case anyone missed it.  Carl Engstrom and Algie Key will not return.  Shannon Hale broke his foot and is out 4-6 weeks.

We've been hearing for a while that Carl was going to return home after the season.  I appreciate his effort and his time here.  He was finally starting to show some significant improvement before his injury in late 2012, but it became obvious he was never going to be an SEC caliber regular big man.  With the influx of guards coming in, the Algie Key news is not surprising.

As for Shannon, injuries are never good, but this is probably the best time for it to happen. Hopefully he will be fully recovered by the time November rolls around.