2008 Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball Preview
It’s been two years since the Crimson Tide of Alabama (17-16 overall, 5-11 SEC) went to the Big Dance. Last season, the club finished fifth in the SEC West and saw no tournament action whatsoever. For head coach Mark Gottfried this looks to be a make-or-break year. If he does not get his team back to the NCAA Tournament, there could be a coaching vacancy to fill at Alabama.
Upfront, sophomore Justin Knox (7.3 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.1 APG, 33.3 FG%, 80.0 FG%) and junior Yamene Coleman (10.9 MPG, 2.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 44.8 FG%, 37.9 FT%) offer power and bulk. Both stand six-foot-nine and weight around 230 pounds each. They’ll need to make up for the loss of forward Richard Hendrix and his 17.8 PPG and 10.1 RPG. The duo will contribute off the boards and on defense. Freshman JaMychal Green, a six-foot-nine McDonald’s All-American, will have an immediate impact. Senior small forward Alonzo Gee (30.1 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 41.9 FG%, 67.9 FT%) can put points up and grab rebounds but his play is streaky.
Point guard Ronald Steele, a senior who missed last season due to knee problems, is back and that should help stabilize this team. Last season, at least three different players tried to man the point. This year, there are two solid backups at point—Brandon Holinger (25.5 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.9 FG%, 61.8 FT%) and Mikhail Torrance (12.2 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 45.7 FG%, 77.8 FT%). Both played point last season. As a freshman in 2007-2008, Senario Hillman (14.0 MPG, 4.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.2 APG, 43.2 FG%, 50.0 FT%) showed bursts of athletic brilliance. If he can take it to the next level as a sophomore, the Bama backcourt will be dynamic.
This Crimson Tide team should find itself back in the NCAA Tournament
mix. They’ve got solid vets returning, a fine new class of
players, scoring chops and depth. If Steele can play up to his potential,
this team will have a good chance of taking the SEC West and earning
a NCAA berth.