13 October 2008
I know, I know. Who cares about basketball right now? We are in the middle of a crazy football season that has the Tide returning to their rightful spot among the nation’s elite but hoops season is right around the corner.
Alabama plays their first game in less than a month, opening with Faulkner on November 6.
Later, we will take a more in depth look at the Bama’s team and prospects for the upcoming season but right now here is a sneak peak into the 2008-2009 seasons.
It is no secret that this year’s team will live or die on the knees of point guard Ronald Steele. Steele returns for his senior year after a red shirt season last year, having surgeries on both knees. Steele supposedly looked like the old Ronald during the camps he participated in while flirting with the NBA.
The big question is whether Steele’s knees will hold up over the course of the 30 plus game schedule. How will Steele hold up after having to play back to back games in the Maui invitational? How will he hold up playing a Tuesday game after a Saturday game?
These are legitimate questions that can only be answered as the season unfolds. Assuming he can, Alabama will have one of the best teams in the SEC West this season. If not, then there will be some problems.
The two guard spot should be manned by sophomore guard Senario Hillman. Hillman is a little guy, listed at 6-1 (which means he is probably 5-11) but can absolutely jump out of the gym. His shooting must improve to compliment his penetration game and if it does he should greatly improve on his 4 ppg average from a year ago.
After flirting with the NBA last spring (which is like me flirting with Megan Fox) Alonzo Gee returns to man the other wing spot. Gee, a senior, must improve his consistency this season if the Tide has any real post season aspirations. After scoring 20 plus in one game, he would too often follow it with a single digit performance the next night.
Demetrius Jemison returns for his junior campaign to man the power forward position (by default). Jemison is a classic garbage player, grabbing loose ball rebounds and getting the occasional follow up basket. Jemison showed flashes of being a good player late last season but is better suited to be a sixth man type of player.
Hot shot freshman JaMychal Green makes the trip up highway 82 from Montgomery to take over the post position vacated by Richard Hendrix. Green was a top 10 player nationally as a senior in high school and starred in post season all-star play. Green has been described as a more skilled and athletic Hendrix, which is a good thing for the Tide. Make that a great thing.
The bench will be a question mark for Alabama heading into the season. Senior Brandon Hollinger will be the first guard off the bench. Hollinger is a typical Alabama player, a two guard in a point guard’s body. Justin Knox, sophomore, should be the first post player off the bench. Knox showed potential in his first year at the Capstone but must improve greatly to provide some relief for a thin front line.
The good news for the Tide is that the SEC West is there for the taking. Mississippi State will be a contender as long as they have money in their checking account. LSU is breaking in a new (albeit talented) coach. Arkansas lost some quality players from last year. Ole Miss and Auburn are, well, Ole Miss and Auburn.
Depending on the health of Ronald Steele and the consistency of Alonzo Gee, the Tide could surprise or disappoint this season.
Does that clear things up?