Alabama Crimson Tide
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #45
Conference Rank: #5 SEC
Alabama Team Page
Alabama reached the NCAA Tournament last season and the team is poised to keep the good times rolling under Coach Anthony Grant. The Crimson Tide has had some great recruiting classes and those recent recruiting classes will need to step up this year to fill in the gaps. The talent is there, but replacing JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell will not be easy.
2011-12 Record: 21-12, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Anthony Grant
Coach Record: 63-39 at Alabama, 139-64 overall
Green and Mitchell were the team’s top two scorers, rebounders and shot blockers. Green was the big bruiser under the basket and averaged 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during his senior season. Mitchell was suspended for the last 11 games of the season and eventually dismissed from the team. Like Green, he was always a double-double threat. The transfer of Charles Hankerson, a 6-5 wing, hurts the team depth a bit too. Ben Eblen provided a little depth for Coach Grant’s deep roster before leaving after his junior campaign.
Last year’s recruiting class was deep and very talented. This class is much smaller as Devonta Pollard is the lone incoming freshman. But what it lacks in quantity, it certainly makes up for in quality. Pollard is a versatile 6-8 forward who will need to live up to his lofty expectations if the Tide expects to effectively replace Green and Mitchell. Pollard is more of a 6-8 small forward, but he will spend most his of time at the four spot due to the team need. But this is a team that sported a 6-6 Mitchell at the four spot last year, so having an athletic four man is nothing new. Retin Obasohan was one of those talented freshmen from the class of 2011. The Belgian point guard redshirted last season, but will start working his way into the rotation sooner or later.
Who to Watch:
Without Green and Mitchell, the focus of Alabama will switch to the perimeter. That will not be a problem with this group. Junior Trevor Releford and senior Andrew Steele will run the show. Releford will be the starter again this year and averaged 12.0 points, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals as a sophomore. Steele has been around for a while now and is a quality, versatile perimeter player who can provide plenty of depth. Releford is the top returning scorer, but Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph are a couple of emerging sophomores who are ready to take over. Lacey is not the most consistent outside shooter, but he has the potential to be the shooter Alabama desperately needs. Mitchell was actually the most prolific outside shooter and the Crimson Tide need to find a steady shooter on the perimeter. Randolph will help out the new frontcourt with his ability to rebound, but he will also step up his scoring this season. If Randolph can start shooting a little better, he will be a superb all-around scorer and one of the better rebounding wings in the SEC. With Obasohan, Steele and 6-6 sophomore Rodney Cooper, the Crimson Tide has plenty of quality depth. Cooper is another one of those great sophomores who is full of potential. Even with all those talented guards on the roster he started 14 games as a freshman and that is saying a lot.
But it all comes down to the frontcourt. The backcourt can win some games, but the frontcourt needs to find some consistency if this group wants to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Nick Jacobs is yet another one of those sophomores who showed promise last season. At 6-8 and 265 pounds, Jacobs will be the big bruiser in the paint. Even if Jacobs is not ready to increase his 5.1 points per game, he will need to be a solid rebounder and defender. Moussa Gueye and Carl Engstrom are a couple seven-footers who can certainly help out on the glass. Gueye only played in 12 games last season due to a knee injury. He has experience at the junior college level and could be in a for a breakout year if he can stay healthy. With Pollard joining the fray, Alabama has options and very good options. The lack of proven frontcourt players may be a concern in November, but it will not be by March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Trevor Releford, Junior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Trevor Lacey, Sophomore, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Levi Randolph, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 points per game
Devonta Pollard, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Nick Jacobs, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#21 Devonta Pollard