2009-2010 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE BASKETBALL
New Head Coach Anthony Grant comes to Alabama following a tremendous stint at VCU in which he led that program to heights never before attained. Following that season, he moved on to replace the departed Mark Gottfried at Alabama. And he brings with him some elevated expectations. Those expectations run high, but for a start, he is expected to try to reverse the patterns of relative mediocrity that have been embedded into the Crimson Tide program in recent seasons. At the moment, Alabama basketball is off to a solid start under Grant, with a 12-7 record (2-3 in the SEC).
The team hasn't been bad per se in recent seasons. Indeed, since making the Elite Eight in 2004, the team has managed a pair of twenty win seasons, and even last year, in a relatively modest season in terms of post-season success, the team went 18-14 overall. However, the team has not been a real threat on a national level since that 2004 run, and has even been an afterthought in the SEC, surprising considering the fact that this program at one point was most of the consistently successful in the SEC West.
One of the most immediate things that Grant needs to address now that he has arrived on the scene is getting the program back in the right mindset, a mindset of winning. Last year was a season of turmoil, one in which the head coach left the team during the middle of the season, following the departure of one of the team's key players. And getting this team steered correctly is going to be that much harder with the loss of Alonzo Gee, a player that for the entire course of his career at Alabama, was a player who always found himself involved in the action. Gee will be hard to replace from a leadership standpoint, if not from a raw talent perspective.
As far as key arrivals, Alabama has a decent class coming in, particularly in regards to depth. Anthony Mitchell is projected to be the best player in the incoming class. He is a good sized, relatively quick small forward, who has the size to be play some power forward. He is good enough to make an impact as a freshman, although is probably one year away from being a true impact player in the SEC. Point guard Ben Elben is another player that expected to contribute relatively quickly. He may actually be able to hit on all cylinders sooner than Mitchell, although his upside is probably slightly lower. Juco transfer Charvez Davis is a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, and is probably going to be a role player.
As far as returning talent, Alabama has a deep roster of moderately talented players who have good all around games, but few of whom are truly exceptional in any one area or another. Senario Hillman enters his junior season coming off a 12.9 ppg year. He needs to improve his shooting accuracy in order to become a more reliable offensive weapon. JaMychal Green provides a good balance of scoring ability and inside board work. He's only a sophomore, and his advancement is critical. Mikhail Torrence is a swing guard, one who doesn't have a tremendous upside, but who is able to maximize his skills. Can he continue to push the envelope?
All told, Alabama is probably a year away from really threatening in the SEC West. However, there are some key elements of success in place right now, and Coach Grant arrives to a cupboard that is not exactly bare. If everything comes together for this team this season, there does exist the potential for a better than expected, one that could result in 20+ wins and possibly even make the SEC elite begin looking in their rear-view mirrors.
If you haven't read it yet, check out our:
- 2009-2010 Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball
- 2007-2008 Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball
- Anthony Grant Biography --current Alabama coach
- Mark Gottfried Biography --former Alabama coach
- Alabama Basketball History
- Alabama Basketball Traditions
- University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Trip
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