2009-2010 Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball Preview
The Crimson Tide of Alabama (18- 14 overall, 7- 9 SEC) have missed both the NCAA and NIT for two seasons straight. Last season they ended up fourth in the West. The last time they went to the Big Dance was in 2006 and the last time they appeared in the NIT was 2007. This year, they appear to have a shot at the National Invitational Tournament.
This team could not shoot threes last season, placing 11th in the conference with a 33% completion rate. They were eighth in both scoring offense (73.4 PPG) and in scoring defense (70.4 PPG). They hit free throws 71% of the time (6th) and from the field 44% (7th). Their best stat, which placed them fifth, was in rebound margin (plus-2.5).
Sophomore JaMychal Green (10.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 0.8 APG) made great strides last season, taking over when star forward Richard Hendrix went to the NBA. He proved to be the real thing. Junior forward Justin Knox (5.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 0.5 APG) and senior forward Demetrius Jemison (3.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.4 APG) will be instrumental in the success of the frontcourt. There’s some help from freshman Shawn Kemp Jr. and junior college transfer Chris Hines.
Senario Hillman (12.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.1 APG) offers a fine, accurate shot. His jump shot improved last season and his moves to the basket are powerful. Anthony Brock (5.6 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.5APG) is a fine go-to player. The question mark is at the point and in terms of depth when it comes to shooters. The team needs more shooters and someone who can set the play and make the pass. There will also be more of an emphasis on the up-tempo game and on playing touch defense. Transfer Charvez Davis and freshman Ben Ebien will both see playing time.
With new head coach Anthony Grant at the helm, there’s rekindled hope and enthusiasm at ‘Bama. Grant comes in as the most praised mid-majors coach for the work he did at Virginia Commonwealth University. And although the SEC is a much tougher stage, the fact is that with time Grant should be able to make the Tide competitive once again. If he can focus on defense this season, fans will see a more competitive Alabama team on the floor than they’ve seen in years. The NIT is a possibility with the Crimson Tide finishing third in the SEC West.