It's been a rough week. The election, Leonard Cohen just passed away, it's not Friday yet.
Fortunately, there is some light in the darkness. Avery Johnson has been on the Alabama campus for only 15 months, and tonight he has put the finishing touches on a top 5 recruiting class. Earlier tonight 5 star guard Collin Sexton announced his commitment to Alabama on ESPNU. A few minutes ago, John Petty announced he will also be attending Alabama. As a result, the 2017 Alabama recruiting class is currently ranked #3 at 247 Sports! That number may decline as the top players in the 2017 class continue to commit, but this is likely no worse than a top 10 recruiting class when it's all said and done. That is amazing when you consider the length of time Avery has been in town. It's been a hell of a job by Avery and his staff in recruiting a class that may be the foundation of a historic future for this program. The work they have also done in promoting the program has also been inspiring to watch. I never put much stock in the idea of promoting a program, but Avery's hard work and vision for what this program can be has made me realize the importance of getting out into the community and bringing the fanbase together to enjoy the rebuilding of this once-great program.
To recap (all ratings are based on 247 Sports)
Collin Sexton - 6'2, 185 lbs - 5 star rated recruit - Top 10 nationally rated player. Sexton is the first 5 star recruit to sign with Alabama since Jamychal Green. He has been called a "lunatic" on the floor because of how hard he competes on both ends. The sky is the limit for this guy.
John Petty - 6'5, 180 lbs - 4 star recruit - A top 50 nationally rated recruit. Ranked #2 in the state of Alabama. Like Sexton, the sky is the limit for Petty. I think he's currently being undervalued by the recruiting services. He's another in a growing list of long, versatile guards that Avery and the staff have recruited. This backcourt of Sexton and Petty is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Alex Reese - 6'9, 225 lbs - 4 star recruit - Reese is a top 100 recruit. Ranked #3 in the state of Alabama. Reese is a skilled big man who should have an opportunity to compete for minutes right away next season. I've heard some criticisms that he plays too soft, but that can be overcome with good coaching, and Reese is going to get some of the best coaching in the SEC. I feel confident that Alex will prove to be a very significant player for Alabama in the years ahead.
Herb Jones - 6'7, 183 lbs - 3 star recruit - Jones is ranked #5 in the state of Alabama (Avery building that fence, just as he said he would). Yet another long, athletic, versatile guard, Jones is another guy who I believe will absolutely flourish under this coaching staff.
Galin Smith - 6'10, 220 lbs - 3 star recruit - Smith is ranked #2 in the state of Mississippi. Galin could prove to be a late bloomer on the national level. Alabama became involved in his recruitment just as some other programs (LSU, SMU, UAB, Cincinnati, Memphis) were beginning to take notice. With a year of high school remaining, Smith could take another step in his basketball development (he only began playing basketball at 14), and be even more regarded when he arrives on the Alabama campus next season.
Guys, I think the 16-17 season can be a successful one, but I can't stress the importance of Avery signing a big class like this for 2017. It has now positioned the program to continue making strides in a positive direction. The addition of this talent with the current players will put Alabama in a position to compete for several years. And if Avery and the staff can build on this momentum for the 2018 and 2019 classes, we're about to see this Alabama program achieve great things well into the future.