Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nick King comes to Alabama from Memphis

I'll research more later on what type of player he is, but having more big bodies is not a bad thing. 6'7 220lbs is what I see him listed at.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Avery Johnson Adds Bob Simon To Staff

Avery Johnson has made all the right moves so far in his tenure at Alabama. He won the opening press conference, he's been media friendly, excited fans, and landed his first big recruit in Dazon Ingram, Mr. Basketball in the state of Alabama.

The next step was his staff. He had already made a great move in retaining Antoine Pettway, whose relationship with Dazon Ingram ultimately led to Ingram re-committing to the Alabama program, while also ensuring that Donta Hall and Brandon Austin will also be in Tuscaloosa this summer. The next step was making good on his promise to not just recruit Alabama and the southeast, but nationally. Enter Bob Simon.

Simon comes to Alabama from Providence, where he was Associate Head Coach, and an assistant to Ed Cooley for the last nine years. He's well-regarded as a coach and a recruiter. His strengths in recruiting helped Ed Cooley bring in talent and rebuild the Providence program to one that has reached the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons. Simon was putting in legwork for Cooley in the South, and was actively recruiting two current high school players that Alabama has offered in the class of 2016, Josh Langford and Braxton Blackwell out of Tennessee.

Simon's hire could also put Alabama in the mix for Providence graduate transfer, Tyler Harris. The brother of former Tennessee player, Tobias Harris, Tyler averaged 9.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg this past season at providence. At 6'9 he would add more length to an Alabama roster desperately in need of it. He's more of a pick-and-pop player, very similar to Shannon Hale in skill set. His minutes and production dipped as the season wore on at Providence, ostensibly the reason for his desire to transfer.

I like this hire. Simon has a good reputation as a coach and recruiter. And having spent nine years with Cooley at Fairfield and Providence, he brings the experience of the college game to CAJ's staff that I feel is needed. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Devin Mitchell to transfer. Good luck to him.

UPDATE- going to GA State

I know he didn't play well in the limited minutes he got, but I think he could've been a decent cog off the bench for CAJ. Good luck to him going forward.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ricky Tarrant to transfer

Ricky Tarrant will be playing for his third college next season, as Alabama granted his release.  I wish him the best of luck.

As I said in a previous post, I'm not losing any sleep over anyone who wants to transfer.  We may very well struggle next year as we make the transition into the Coach Avery Johnson era, but I only want guys on this team who will buy in.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Avery Day!

It wasn't the prettiest of coaching searches, but I think the end results are fantastic.  We publicly swung and missed on Gregg Marshall, but I believe Avery Johnson has an even higher upside than our first choice.

I want to talk a little bit about the hire, how we got here, my evaluation of the search process, and the next steps I think we need to take going forward, but first, I would like to revisit what I posted in the wake of Coach Anthony Grant's firing regarding the qualifications the new coach should possess:

"First, it should go without saying, but I want someone who will represent the University in a first class manner.  This was Coach Grant's strong suit, and this isn't about trading that for wins.  We can win with class.  Second, he needs to have a lot of "up side."  If we can't conceivably picture the guy taking us to a final four at some point, I don't want him.  Familiarity with the region and experience recruiting the south are a plus, but I would also be open to a great recruiter with connections to a more fertile prospect base.  Finally, I want someone who understands the importance of being an ambassador to the program and actively marketing it to the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham communities. "

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Head Coach Avery Johnson

It's not official yet, but media outlets are all reporting that Avery Johnson has agreed to become the 20th head basketball coach at the University of Alabama. It's a hire that is definitely outside the box, but one that is being heavily praised by Alabama fans and media.

It appears the job came down to Avery Johnson and Steve Prohm. In the end, it would seem that Johnson's experience at the NBA level and how that would appeal to recruits was the determining factor in giving him the job, despite the fact he has never coached at the college level.

While the hire has shined some national attention on the Alabama program and energized the fanbase, this is still a gamble for Alabama. As mentioned, Johnson has no college head coaching experience, and there is no guarantee that his successes at the professional level will translate to the college game. Who he chooses to fill his staff may turn out to be more important than his own hire. My hope is that he will retain Antoine Pettway, who has become an excellent recruiter in recent years. Bringing other Bama guys into the fold (Roy Rogers, T.R. Dunn for example) would also be a smart move in my opinion.

Johnson will certainly be more media savvy than Anthony Grant was. Johnson's experience at ESPN will be crucial as he attempts to rebuild the brand of Alabama basketball. A busy schedule of radio, television and speaking engagements will no doubt be in his future as, whether he wants to or not, the university appears to have heard the cries from fans who wanted a more outgoing personality in charge of the program and will expect that from Johnson from the beginning.

The biggest pro for Johnson will be his NBA connections. Look, it's simple, every kid who signs with a college has NBA aspirations. Doesn't matter if it's a 2 or 5 star. They all want to play in the league. Johnson's NBA past alone will help him get his foot in the door for recruits that Alabama simply hasn't had a shot at in the past.

Despite the strengths that Johnson will bring to the position, he still has to prove that he has the coaching chops to go up against the best coaches the conference will offer. It's important to note that no NBA teams or college programs were beating down his door when Alabama came calling. Whether that proves to be fortuitous or an omen, only time will tell.

First and foremost, Johnson needs to meet with the current players and sell them on his vision. There is talent remaining on this roster. If there wasn't, you wouldn't hear nasty rumors about former coaches trying to lure those players away. Bring in the right head coach and a staff to match, add in some energy to a fanbase that has been dormant far too long, and Alabama has a roster in place to be competitive next season. There are other aspects of the program that must be addressed by the new coaching staff and the administration, but the pieces are in place to help ease the transition of a new coaching staff while hopefully avoiding  a long rebuild situation.

I see positives and negatives in this coaching hire, but I also see upside. Avery Johnson could prove to be the right guy at the right time for this program. As a result, I welcome this hire and will support Coach Johnson and his staff to bring some good times back to T-Town.

You can follow Coach Johnson on Twitter @CoachAvery6

Roll Tide!

Top candidates for the job- Avery Johnson and Steve Prohm

Reading some reports... both have been interviewed. I suspect we'll have an answer by Tuesday. It looks like Avery Johnson is the front-runner, but that is just speculation.