Monday, September 28, 2015

Roster Preview - Forwards/Centers

Size was always an issue during the Anthony Grant era. Grant and his staff were never able to adequately replace the talent and toughness up front they had the first two years with guys like Chris Hines, Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green. The result was a team that struggled on the glass, allowing too many second chance opportunities and not creating enough of those opportunities for themselves. Never again did Grant have the defensive 1-2 punch inside that he had with Hines and Green. The absence of guys like Mitchell and Green on the offensive end also led to an inconsistency of scoring at the 4 and 5 positions. As a result, a team that struggled from the perimeter was forced to rely on perimeter shooting and paint scoring from their guards. This led to a lack of offensive balance and, subsequently, a lack of consistent scoring.

The 15-16 version of the Crimson Tide may not be intimidating in the post, but there will be a little more length up front. Guys like Jimmie Taylor and Mike Kessens showed the potential to score points around the basket at times last season, while guys like Shannon Hale and Riley Norris give Bama potential match-up advantages with each player's ability to play inside/out. The hope is that Alabama will be much more consistent at the 4 and 5 this season, allowing for some much-needed balance that will take pressure off a rebuilding backcourt.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2016 Juco Guard Ar'Mond Davis Commits

The Alabama coaching staff added their second 2016 recruit on Wednesday night as Ar'Mond Davis from the College of Southern Idaho committed. Davis, from Tacoma Washington, is listed as a 6'6, 190 lb guard. He's considered one of the top Juco prospects in the nation. He originally committed to play at Memphis, but chose to take some additional visits. Other schools that showed interest include Texas A&M and Texas (among others). Davis' stats from last season at Southern Idaho were 10.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.9 topg and 1.3 spg.

I admit I had not seen any film of Davis until tonight, but I like what I've seen so far. He's very athletic, quick, impressive in finishing at the rim, has a good looking mid-range game, and shows the ability to be a deep threat (though, for the record, he was only 28% last season at Southern Idaho). Alabama's perimeter for next season is shaping up to be very long and disruptive on the defensive end. I've embedded a video below that adequately shows the range of what Davis can do on the court. I'm excited to see this guy play. If you want to follow Ar'Mond on Twitter, it's @justwannawin22

The 2016 class is loaded with talent from the high school classes to the juco ranks. The staff that recruits this class well has a bright future in store. Avery Johnson and his staff are off to a fantastic start. And they show no signs of stopping. They are recruiting very hard, and I suspect we will hear even more good news in the weeks leading up to the early signing period. Buckle up. 

Bama Basketball Inviting Students to try out for the team

Alabama basketball to hold open tryouts for students

There's really nothing to lose by doing this.  Worst case scenario is you don't find anybody worth taking, but it's a fun way to market to students who have an interest in the game.  Best case scenario is we add someone to the team that can actually help us this year.

My freshman year at UA was David Hobbs' last year, the 1997-98 season.  I remember playing pick up games at the rec center with Chauncey Jones, MC Mazique, Doc Martin and Demetrius Alexander.  While they were usually pretty dominant as you might expect; there were times that they were not clearly the best players on the court.  I believe there were some rec center baller types that could have helped that team.  There were also frequent pickup games involving a lot of the football players late at night in Foster Auditorium.  I know some of the people involved in those could have been useful.  There are some good basketball players out there who, for various reasons, haven't played much organized ball.

Gottfried also had open tryouts his first year, but I cannot recall if anybody made the team.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Roster Preview - Guards

We are 47 days away from the exhibition game with Trevecca Nazarene, which will mark the beginning of the Avery Johnson era in Tuscaloosa. Excitement for the start of basketball season is as high as it's been in several years. Much of that is attributable to the outstanding work that has been put in by Avery Johnson and his staff to raise the profile of the program and sell their vision of what Alabama basketball can be. The staff has been recruiting like crazy, and I suspect we will see more good news concerning the 2016 class in the wake of the Terrance Ferguson commitment.

That is the future. There's still the 2015-16 season to play. While the popular opinion is that this could be a transition season for the program, the foundation for that future must be laid this season. Improved play on both ends of the floor, improved chemistry, improved player development, and an overall better atmosphere in Coleman Coliseum will go a long way towards putting the pieces in place to make a significant leap in the 2016-17 season, meaning the importance of this group of players cannot be understated.

It will be a relatively young team. Out of the 10 scholarship players available for games this season, half of them will be freshmen and sophomores. That will put a lot of pressure on young players to grow up fast as all 10 guys will need to play a role of some kind. It will also put pressure on the junior and senior players to play with a greater level of consistency. There will likely be some ups-and-downs, but if this staff has the coaching chops we believe they do, this should be a team that improves throughout the season.

As I've done the last couple of years, I'd like to provide a short preview of each player on the Alabama roster, starting with the guards. Despite the struggles the last couple of seasons, Alabama remained strong in the backcourt with guys like Trevor Releford, Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper, Trevor Lacey and Andrew Steele. Coming into this season, there are more questions than usual at the guard positions.