The Alabama Crimson Tide were in need of a coach after firing Anthony Grant. Alabama seemed to have several good options. They focused on Gregg Marshall of Wichita State before he decided to stay with the Shockers. Many thought that athletic director Bill Battle would go after Alabama alum Steve Prohm, who had done great things at Murray State, but Prohm apparently wasn’t seriously considered.
Instead, Alabama went in a different direction, hiring Avery Johnson, who has exactly zero experience coaching in college. Johnson has been the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, and the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and Battle hoped that Johnson’s experience would allow him to be successful on the college level.
It remains to be seen whether or not Johnson can win as a college coach, especially at a football school. Alabama is clearly more interested in the pigskin than they are the hardwood. The Tide have been to the NCAA Tournament 20 times in their history, but have never gone past the Elite Eight. Johnson’s job is to change that and get this team to a Final Four.
Johnson inherits a team that lost its top three scorers from last season. Shannon Hale, who was injured at the end of the 2015 season, is the top returning scorer for the Tide. Jimmie Taylor and Michael Kessens should be better in 2016, but that core is not going to strike fear in Alabama’s opponents.
Alabama does have a good recruiting class coming in, but the Tide will likely struggle in the SEC in 2016. They simply don’t have the talent to compete with the Kentucky Wildcats, the LSU Tigers or the Florida Gators.
If Johnson can work some type of magic, his team might finish in the top half of the SEC. But 2016 could be a struggle for the Tide.