Bama Hoops Hype

Competition Fueling Tide’s Play in the Paint

Alabama Men's Basketball

The hype of the Alabama men’s basketball team has been fueled by the talent of the Crimson Tide’s guards. However, just a week into the season, it has been the play in the post that has been a pleasant surprise to the fans and head coach Avery Johnson.

Donta Hall recorded his first career double-double last Friday in the Tide’s win over Memphis. The junior center also matched career-highs in blocks and assists in 30 minutes on the court.

“Donta looked a little bit more like a mature player,” Johnson said on Monday. “Donta was like our most experienced guy on the court and he had a big game for us.”

During the exhibition game last Monday, Hall played just 21 minutes while new teammate Daniel Giddens put on a show. Giddens came off the bench to lead the team with 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 5 blocks.

“We need them to compete together on the court without getting into serious foul trouble,” Johnson said on the competition between Giddens and Hall. “They push each other in practice, along with Galin (Smith) and Alex Reese. That’s four guys we think we can count on. “

Hall and Giddens have even more depth behind them with freshmen Smith and Reese. At some point this season, one or two of those players will see their minutes drop but until then, they continue to compete.

“It makes each one of us better,” Hall said about the competition. “We push each other to go harder and harder every day on and off the court. It helps with our offensive situation and defensive situation in the post.”

While having “too much” depth may not be an issue, it will be interesting to see how Coach Johnson uses the two big men going forward. Both players started against Memphis but once Braxton Key and Riley Norris come back, most of the minutes at the four may be filled up. It may not be too long before we see Alabama start to play with three forwards on the court.

Hall averaged 19.7 minutes per game while splitting time with Jimmie Taylor. He led the team in shooting efficiency and is now shooting 65 percent from the field during his career.

Giddens came in as a transfer from Ohio State. After sitting out for a season, the sophomore was expected to be a role player and likely the backup center. His performance in the exhibition turned heads but he played just five minutes in the season opener because of foul trouble.

So should the players just equally split time at the center position? Or should Avery Johnson just let whoever is hot keep playing? There may not be a correct decision for the Crimson Tide but figuring out the rotation may only get more difficult as the season goes on.

One thing is for sure: there will not be much room for errors for the big men if they want to continue to see plenty of playing time.

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @CalebTurrentine.

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