Bama Hoops Hype

Tide Tip-Off Ignites Excitement

Photo by Johnathan Anderson - Bama Hoops Hype

The walls hadn’t changed. The seats looked the same. The script A was still there. But for the first time in a long time, Coleman Coliseum had a buzz in the air.  That once forgotten adrenaline rush that accompanied Crimson Tide teams of the past had returned, and the scene was electrifying.

“Tonight, was a celebration of community,” head coach Avery Johnson said.

Coach Johnson is entering his third year as head coach of the Crimson Tide, and he believes his team is ready to take that next step.  Coming from the excitement of beating Top 25 teams in his first year to being a Top 25 team in his third, Johnson believes now is the time to head to the NCAA tournament.

The buildup for this year can be demonstrated in the numbers – a record breaking 6,000 season tickets have been sold – but the true excitement for this year must be felt, and for the 7,000 fans in attendance on Tuesday evening, the sound of the gym tells the story.

The men’s basketball team participated in a twenty-minute scrimmage to showcase their talents, with timeouts being called every five minutes for prizes to be awarded. An incredibly fast paced contest, the score began at 50-50, perhaps an inclination to Johnson’s anticipated high-scoring offense.

The White team, coached by Antoine Pettway, consisted of:

  1. Dazon Ingram
  2. John Petty
  3. Daniel Giddens
  4. Braxton Key
  5. Lawson Schaffer
  6. Avery Johnson Jr.
  7. Tyler Barnes

The Crimson team, coached by Yasir Rosemond, consisted of:

  1. Herb Jones
  2. Collin Sexton
  3. Donta Hall
  4. Alex Reese
  5. Tevin Mack
  6. Galin Smith
  7. Landon Fuller
  8. Cam Smith

Though this exhibition began very similarly to an NBA All Star game, the matchup did give fans a quality look at the raw skill and athletic ability this team possesses. This Crimson Tide roster is deep, and the freshmen were clearly the fan favorites throughout the scrimmage.

Though the scrimmage did raise anticipation for the upcoming season, it also raised questions as a few critical members of last season’s squad did not participate in the exhibition.  Riley Norris, a senior who is nursing a hip injury, was claimed to be “progressing nicely” by Avery Johnson. Seen as a week to week injury, Johnson gave no timetable for Norris’ return.  Ar’mond Davis was said to be recovering from a bruised knee and is also noted as week to week going forward.

But with the team that did participate, there were several notes coming out of the showcase:

  1. Nearly every player is a threat from deep.
  2. The post depth is much deeper than previously thought.
  3. Avery Johnson’s job in picking a line-up will be a tough one.

It’s not a bad problem to have, but certainly a difficult one to deal with.  Like I’ve said before, this roster is loaded, and determining the proper mix of youth and veterans, perimeter and post threats, and finding a chemistry that fits will be Johnson’s biggest challenge with this team going forward.  Johnson stressed after the exhibition that he was looking for his veterans to step up, seeming to grow tired of the constant bombardment of questions relating to his two freshmen phenom.

Petty and Sexton did impress tonight though, with the former constantly demonstrating his deep threat and the latter mesmerizing fans with his ballhandling and passing abilities.  These two show promise of becoming a lethal backcourt, one capable of leading a team deep into the NCAA tournament.

The scrimmage ended 106-103 in favor of the white team and lead to Coach Johnson sending the crowd off in style with an intra-squad dunk contest. As if the crowd wasn’t ready for the season already, Sexton left his mark on the night with THIS dunk over Dazon Ingram to ensure that the crowd was buckled up and ready for another terrific season.

Tide Fans, get ready. The Tide has just Tipped-Off.

Johnathan Anderson covers Alabama basketball for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for coverage and analysis.


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