Thursday, April 08, 2021

Tide Lands 2 Big Recruits

  In the span of just two days, Nate Oats and staff have managed to obtain commitments from two major names to add to the 21-22 Alabama team roster. The first comes in the form of 6’10 Canadian C Charles Bediako. Bediako always hovered between the 4 and 5 star lines but ultimately the rating didn’t matter. Bediako chose the Tide over the likes of Michigan, Duke, Ohio State and Texas. That alone is enough to understand just how valuable the commitment is. Bediako brings a freakishly athletic presence to the post for Alabama as well as a shot blocking presence that the Tide desperately needed during its recent Sweet 16 run. Bediako runs the floor well and has a high motor. Look for him to instantly contend for minutes the moment he dons the Crimson Tide uniform. 

 Just today Alabama received a commitment from former 5 star McDonald’s All American Nimari Burnett. Alabama was considered a heavy favorite for Burnett last season before he chose to take his talents to Lubbock at the 11th hour. There he averaged about 6 PPG and struggled to find a role in Chris Beard’s offense. However,  Burnett did manage to play impressive defense and show an uncanny ability to get to the free throw line in spurts while converting nearly 90% of his attempts. The 6’5 combo guard will continue to get stronger in Tuscaloosa and that should translate to success in the lane and the FT line. Alabama fans should be most excited to see him play defense in my opinion. He has the same shutdown ability of someone like Keon Ellis. 

 Burnett’s selection puts Alabama one over the scholarship limit and speculation runs amok about the ramifications. There are many possibilities such as Quinerly declaring for the draft (though he adamantly denied that possibility via his Twitter feed), a transfer of a player such as Rojas, Wilson or Keon Ambrose-Hylton has been mentioned- as has a redshirt for Jusaun Holt or an incoming player being granted a release though nothing should be taken as fact. The announcement of Noah Gurley could throw yet another wrinkle into that fold as Alabama is HEAVILY in the mix for the talented F. Gurley plans to make his announcement this coming Sunday. 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Thank You, Herbert Jones

  In this mini-series of articles I’ll be offering homage to the players that we here at BAMAHOOPS.com and many other fans believe have helped forever change the culture of Alabama basketball. These players were major contributors as Alabama won the SEC Championship, the SEC Tournament Championship and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004. 

 First up is Herbert Jones. Jones came in to Tuscaloosa as a somewhat late offer in Avery Jones’ signature class. Herbert was wiry and raw, yet outworked his teammates on day 1 and beyond. Though Jones struggled offensively at times during his Alabama career-he never let it effect his effort in the gym and the defensive end of the floor. He was the first one on the floor when there was a loose ball. Herbert typically drew the assignment of guarding the opposing teams best offensive threat...and loved it. Jones had many unforgettable moments in his Alabama career, but he began to garner national attention on the day that he completely shut down now Atlanta Hawk star Trey Young when he was a PG at Oklahoma. Alabama went on to win that day on its way to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Jones’ remarkable effort on the defensive end was a major catalyst for that signature win. 

 While Jones was always known for bringing the lunch pail to work night in and night out, his game didn’t completely flourish offensively until this most recent season...his senior campaign. All of Herbert’s numbers made a jump and, not by coincidence, Alabama did as well. He was never quite known as a great FT shooter regardless of being responsible for one of the most iconic moments in the history of the program when an injured Herbert Jones managed to knock down two game clinching FTs against LSU with his off-hand while his shooting hand was in a cast. Though much was made of his missing a couple of late ones against UCLA, Jones managed to hit the gym this past summer and therefore post a 74% FT conversation rate during the 20-21 season. The same could be said for his 3 PT %. Having never been known as a threat behind the arc-Jones improved to a 35% 3 PT shooter this season and therefore forced defenders to respect his ability to shoot. So much so that it might’ve won Alabama the SEC Tournament Championship as LSU F Trendon Watford certainly seemed concern that Herb might shoot just before Jones blew by him for a clutch, banner winning layup. 

 The examples I provided only scratch the surface of what made Herbert Jones a player that helped transform Alabama into a national basketball name again. The truth of the matter is that Jones will be more remembered for the plays that never showed up on the stat sheet. More often than not, it was Herb wearing the coveted hard hat given out by Coach Nate Oats after each Alabama win. Herb easily set a school record for charges taken as he became synonymous with the hard hat identity. Coach Oats worked tirelessly to inspire a blue collar mentality into this program...and Herbert Jones will long be known as the embodiment of “Blue Collar Basketball.”

Thursday, April 01, 2021

A couple maintenance updates and Roy Williams retiring

Heads up, this site may transition back to bamahoops.blogspot.com sometime in the next few weeks. bamahoops.com will not redirect so keep that in mind if you log in and can't find the site. It might revert back to bamahoops.com, but in a transition so want to make sure the site stays up in some fashion.

Also, Roy Williams calls it a career.... he was looking really old this year and I have to assume it factored into it. I suspect Oats will get a look (he is chummy with Coach K) despite his contract extension/raise. Carolina is one of the few schools that can afford him... but I don't think there is much to worry about here.