Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bama Hoops News and Notes - 04/30/2017

The final day of April is here. Only 194 days until the 2017-18 season tips off (unless the NCAA decides to start the season earlier than November 10th - more on that later). There are a couple of noteworthy topics to mention so let's get started.

The NBA combine invitation list was revealed earlier today. The list includes more than 60 players. Noticeably absent from the list is Braxton Key. The general consensus is that if an underclassmen testing the waters does not receive an invite to the combine, it's a good idea to return to school. Hopefully, Braxton will announce his intentions to return to school in the coming days.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweeted earlier today that Alabama and Rhode Island have agreed to a home-and-home series, which will start in Tuscaloosa for the 17-18 season. The Rams finished 25-10 this past season, making the NCAA Tournament and knocking off Creighton before losing a tough 3-point game to Oregon in the round of 32. With 6 of the top 8 scorers expected to return, Rhode Island should be a preseason favorite for the A-10 title.

For those keeping track, here's what the Bama schedule looks like so far:

Memphis [Veterans Classic at Annapolis, Maryland]
Rhode Island [Game will most likely be played in Tuscaloosa]
Barclays Center Classic [Based on Umass press release from July of last year. Umass, Alabama, BYU and TBD team will be the four host schools]
Texas [Return game in home-and-home series. My guess is that Texas will be the opponent in the 2017 version of the Vulcan Classic]
SEC/Big 12 Challenge [Alabama will take part in the event this season. My prediction: Alabama will travel to Iowa State to face Bama alum Steve Prohm.]

The NCAA is discussing the possibility of a new start date for college basketball, one that will be more uniform than what we have now. What is being discussed is making the Tuesday before the second Friday in November the uniform start date for the sport. The belief is a mid-week start date might bring more attention and excitement to the sport. There is also hope that by starting the season earlier, it will create a less compressed schedule, particularly in the non-conference months. With that in mind, the NCAA has also discussed the possibility of a standardized 21-week playing season with a mandatory 3-4 day break for the student athletes during the winter vacation period.

I'm for a uniform start date to the season, but there has to be high profile games to go along with it, or casual fans still won't care. The first weekend of college football has become dotted with exciting games that pull in viewers from every part of the country. College basketball will have to do something similar if it's going to make an impact in early November. And as far as the break during the winter vacation period: I'm all for it. Without students on campus, home games lack energy, and the games themselves suffer because of this. Avery has dealt with this problem by scheduling games in Birmingham and Huntsville during the winter break, but giving the players extra time during the break would be in the best interest of the student-athlete from a mental and physical standpoint, which is what all of this is supposed to be about, right?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Strictly info- first 2 year records of coaches at Alabama

Overall record/SEC record

Anthony Grant:
- 17-15/6/10
- 25-12/12-4

Mark Gottfried:
- 17-15/6-10
- 13-16/6-10

David Hobbs:
- 16-13/7-9
- 20-10/12-4

Avery Johnson:
- 18-15/8-10
- 19-15/10-8

Some notes:
- Anthony Grant's 2nd year is what I consider to be his peak. Yes, we made the NCAAT his third year, but any sane Bama basketball fan will concede his 2nd year was his best team
- Mark Gottfried picked it up his 3rd year and peaked his 4th. It was year 6 of the improbable Elite 8 run, but IMO year 4 was his best team.
- David Hobbs... well he had Antonio McDyess up to year 2 and started descending in year 4. Usually, year 4 should be close to the peak (having a full roster of the coach's players).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Key declares for NBA draft

My guess is he is just testing the waters as I have not seen him sign with an agent as of yet.
Interesting regardless... he might not be happy with his role next year?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Final Thoughts on the 16-17 Season/Looking Ahead

It's a quiet Sunday here in the Msmilie castle so I thought I'd finally put down my final thoughts on the 16-17 season, look ahead to the critically important 17-18 season, and take an early look at the recruiting for this summer as well as future classes. This will be a long post so hit the break to continue reading.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Coaching changes tally- 2017

The annual coaching moves... who's fired, who quit, and who replaced the fired and the quit.

I like the moves at Illinois, NC State, and Georgetown for entirely different reasons. I dislike the Oklahoma St and LSU picks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Ar'Mond Davis Transferring

Ar'Mond Davis is moving on. He announced today on Twitter that he is transferring. The 6'6, 193 lb Junior averaged 6 points and 13.8 minutes per game in his lone season in Tuscaloosa. Ar'Mond will have one year of eligibility remaining. I wish him the best of luck.

A top 10 JC recruit out of the College of Southern Idaho, Ar'Mond did not develop into the shooter we hoped he would be (26.7% from 3), but he did work his way into the rotation after some early struggles, and played a huge role in arguably the team's biggest win of the year in the 4-OT game at South Carolina, scoring a career high 19 points. Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, it's possible Ar'Mond wanted to move somewhere closer to home. I have not seen an official statement yet from Avery. Other Bama players on Twitter seemed surprised by the move so I don't think this was expected by the coaching staff. Nevertheless, there are now two available scholarships for next season. No idea if the coaching staff is recruiting anyone to fill those two spots, but I would guess that Avery will seek to fill those two spots, perhaps with transfers. The number of players transferring is once again very high so there is no shortage of experienced college basketball players out there who fill a variety of needs. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Another Schedule Rumor: Alabama will play in the Barclays Center Classic

Perhaps I shouldn't post this as a rumor, seeing as this information comes from the Umass athletic website (click here). The information is dated July 2016 so it's entirely possible this information is no longer relevant so I'll leave it as a rumor until we get something official. The site reports that Umass will play in the 17-18 Barclays Center Classic, along with Alabama and BYU (and I would guess an unconfirmed team as this is a 4-team event). Assuming this hasn't changed, we now know that the team will be spending Thanksgiving week in Brooklyn. It would be Avery's first game at the Barclays Center since he was fired by the Brooklyn Nets after only 28 games in the new city and arena in 2012. Umass just hired former Chattanooga head coach, Matt McCall, who won 48 games in two seasons at Chattanooga. I thought BYU underachieved, relative to the talent on their roster, but they are annually a top 75 program, and should be a tough out next season.

So far, here's what the (rumored) schedule looks like in addition to this news about the Brooklyn trip:

1. Avery mentioned a possible foreign trip this summer.
2. Avery mentioned the possibility of playing two exhibition games in 17-18 in press conferences this past season.
3. Texas is expected to play a return game in Alabama this season (I'm predicting they will be the opponent in the Vulcan Classic).
4. Alabama will open the season vs Memphis in the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy (this comes from Tubby Smith, who mentioned it in a recent press conference).

In addition to this schedule news, incoming recruit Collin Sexton won the High School 3-Point contest. This is in addition to winning the McDonald's All-American slam dunk contest, and an impressive performance in the McDonald's game itself. I'm trying to keep my expectations in check for this incoming class, but I really wish it was November right now.