University of Alabama basketball practice in August might be out of season, but it certainly wasn’t out of order for anxious Crimson Tide fans.

In front of more than 2,000 fans at Coleman Coliseum, the Crimson Tide held a fundamental practice — working on what coach Avery Johnson called “the basketball version of special teams” — in preparation for its three-game stretch of exhibition games against Canadian teams next week.

“I was just expecting a few people to show up on a Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa,” Johnson said following the practice. “Instead, we had a great crowd. My staff told me that there were more than 2,000 people here.

“They weren’t just sitting there, either. They were involved and energetic. I hope they saw a brand of basketball they liked and will be back during the season.”

The crowd was involved throughout but grew particularly raucous during a fast-paced exchange that saw freshmen John Petty and Collin Sexton duel each other, each hitting a pair of 3-point baskets in a span of less than two minutes.

Fans also had loud cheers for sophomore Braxton Key, who chose to return for the upcoming season after entering his name in the NBA Draft, and transfer center Daniel Giddens, who will be eligible after sitting out a season.

The only somewhat-negative news of the practice was that sophomore guard Dazon Ingram did not participate in the practice and is “questionable” to play in Canada due to rehabilitation of a foot injury. Johnson said that Ingram would travel with the team and that the decision to hold him out was “strictly precautionary.”

Johnson said he “had an idea” about Alabama’s starting lineup form the first game in Canada but did not announce the starters.

“We have a plan but it’s flexible,” Johnson said. “We have a plan for the first game and if we like what we see, maybe that will be the lineup for the second and third game.” Johnson added that Alabama intended “to look at a lot of players on various roles.”

Alabama will depart Tuscaloosa on Friday, Aug. 4 where it will spend a total of eight days and play three games against Canadian Universities throughout its time in Montreal and Ottawa. The first game will be played in Montreal on Aug. 7 against McGill University at 6 p.m. CT. The Tide will then play a pair of games in Ottawa, beginning with a contest on Aug. 9 at Carleton University followed by facing the University of Ottawa on Aug. 10.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.

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