Saturday, October 31, 2009

Alabama media and boosters allowed to view practice.

For the first time this preseason, Alabama media and boosters were allowed inside Coleman Coliseum to witness the team practice. Gentry Estes of the Mobile Press-Register has provided his observations in an article he wrote, which can be found here.

Highlights of the article include:

  • This team will play fast: True to his word, Grant is using an up-tempo style, full-court pressing and trapping. The pace was much faster and less scripted than anything Alabama has been accustomed to recently. There is an offensive system at work, but Grant also appears to be giving players freedom to operate in the open floor.
  • There is an obvious lack of size: A glaring weakness for Grant's first Alabama team will
  • be in the post. Other than JaMychal Green and Justin Knox, there doesn't appear to be a natural big man on the team. Two competing scrimmage teams geuinely looked to have four guards out there. A pivotal player here could be bulky junior college transfer Chris Hines (6-foot-8), who has some size and was effective around the basket.
  • Tony Mitchell will make an impact: To my relatively untrained eye: The true freshman looks like a player, is settling into the team nicely on both ends of the floor and seems a likely replacement for Alonzo Gee.
  • Looking for a range: Alabama is athletic enough to play to Grant's new style, but perimeter shooting could be an issue in a fast-paced offense. Junior college transfer Charvez Davis may be the best 3-point shooter on the team.
  • UA will be better defending the inbounds pass: As strange as it sounds to mention, Alabama seemed to have a good idea was it was doing on inbounds plays. That goes for the offensive end, too.
  • Big role for Mikhail Torrance: Much of this team's success will rely on Torrance, the senior point guard who now gets a chance to take over on his own in the post-Ronald Steele era. Torrance averaged 10 points a game last year despite starting about half of them.
Interesting observations, though nothing incredibly surprising. We're well aware of Alabama's size issues coming into the system. I've been of the opinion that Mikhail's senior year would be one to watch, and Estes' article only serves to bolster that feeling.

One thing that did stand out is the issue of perimeter shooting. As small as Alabama will be this season, they had better knock down perimeter shots.

So far so good, I say. Grant appears to have brought a toughness to Tuscaloosa that has been lacking far too long. Something tells me that if a player doesn't get after it this year, he will find himself on the bench. The need for discipline has been great the last several years. It looks like Grant is bringing the fire. This team won't lose this year for lack of effort. And that's all you can really ask for as a fan.

1 comment:

finebammer said...

"This team won't lose this year for lack of effort. And that's all you can really ask for as a fan."

true 'dis. if that's the case. i wish torrance could get a do-over. i'd like to see what he could have been under four years of competent coaching.

recruiting is going to take on a new tone also. we need big men. REAL big men. kentucky's apparently going to be pretty tough from here on out.

i pine for the days when uk and alabama were the top two teams in the conference.