The Alabama Crimson Tide fired Anthony Grant at the end of last season and dominated their subsequent games in the NIT. Personally, I’m a fan of Grant’s coaching style and think that the release of pressure and not his abilities led to their success, but something had to change in the Alabama basketball program. The pictures coming out of that arena of the empty seats were embarrassing for the SEC as a whole, so hopefully their new coach will be able to turn everything around.
Alabama made a major splash by hiring former NBA Coach of the Year and NBA title winning coach with the Dallas Mavericks, Avery Johnson. Johnson inherits several talented players, including Retin Obasohan, Shannon Hale, Justin Coleman and Riley Norris, as well as bringing in key recruits and transfers.
Johnson’s team will have the talent, but I’m not sure they will have the cohesion necessary to win against top SEC opposition. Several SEC teams will take a step forward next season, but Alabama will not be one of them. Expect Bama to finish in the bottom half of the SEC, albeit closer to the No. 8 and No. 9 position than the No. 14 spot.
However, the Crimson Tide are on the right path with the Johnson hiring and a .500 season should not be considered a bust. Alabama and Johnson will bounce back in the next few seasons, and I fully expect this team to contend for an NCAA tournament berth as early as the 2016-17 season.