Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is known for giving his teams the tools to compete defensively. The Crimson Tide have always been very tough to compete with and are known best for Grant’s hard-nosed style. After speaking to a group of high school coaches focusing on Alabama’s defensive identity, Anthony Grant decided to play a little defense of his own with some questions he was asked about departing players Trevor Lacey and Devonta Pollard.
Trevor Lacey was a key contributor for Grant last season, averaging the second most points on the team (11.3), lead the team in three-pointers made (62), and assists (3.2). For the 23-13 Crimson Tide, Lacey was their “do everything” point guard. For Grant, he was a coach’s dream. Lacey opted out of another season in Tuscaloosa to join former Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried at North Carolina State. To say that Grant is sore about the issue may be an understatement. When asked if Lacey’s transfer was a surprise, Grant ignored the remark and deflected to talking about the current guys on their roster. He expressed his excitement for the new season, an overseas trip coming up and looking to find guys to fill some roles on the team. Lacey will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, and will have two years of eligibility remaining when he suits up for the Wolfpack.
I called him “sore” about the subject of Lacey, but Grant may just have wanted to focus on the roster he has instead of dwelling about the past. I get that, but I can’t blame him for the deflection due to how good a player Lacey was for the program. When the subject of Lacey was put on the back burner, did you think anyone on the audience learned their lesson? Not the guy who brought up the Devonta Pollard issue.
After being arrested and charged for his alleged role in a kidnapping, Devonta Pollard withdrew himself from the University of Alabama. He averaged 3.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and appeared in all 36 games for the Tide. Now, Pollard faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Because of the severity of the issue as well as being a legal matter, Grant refused to comment much on the subject. He explained to the crowd that Pollard had been going through a rough time and needed to leave Alabama to be closer with his family. I personally commend Grant on his professionalism towards the question and then I’ll personally call the guy that asked it a pure idiot. Everyone already knew why Pollard had to leave, why even bring it up?
Without Pollard and Lacey, the Tide only return nine scholarship players on a team that went to the NIT last season. Alabama has a very unique habit of being “on the bubble” when it comes time to select the bids for the NCAA Tournament. Despite wins over the best teams in the SEC, the Tide are left on the outside looking in because of puzzling losses in their non-conference schedule. Those puzzling losses may come in waves with a depleted bench and a coach looking for answers.