The preliminaries are over and while the University of Alabama men’s basketball team will continue to change over the course of its pre-conference schedule, head coach Nate Oats now has some idea of where his first Crimson Tide team stands going into Tuesday night’s season opener against the Penn Quakers.
After an open exhibition game and a closed scrimmage, the Crimson Tide looks different than any edition dating back as far as the Rocket Eight in terms of pace of play. UA used nine players in the exhibition win over Georgia Tech and would love to make it 10 depending on the outcome of Jahvon Quinerly’s appeal of an unfavorable ruling from the NCAA on his transfer waiver request.
Alabama has requested a telephonic hearing with the NCAA Legislative Review Committee for Quinerly, according to sources familiar with the appeal. A telephonic review would allow Quinerly a chance to state his own case to the committee.
Without Quinerly, Alabama was still a perimeter-oriented attack against Georgia Tech, although Oats was less excited than some of his fan base after his film review.
“Our turnovers were way too high,” Oats said on Friday. “We’re still learning it. It’s not anywhere close to where we want it. Shooting erases a lot of mistakes so when you make 17 3-pointers, all of a sudden people think you looked really good when in reality we’ve got a long way to go.
“We finished poorly at the rim. I thought we had better finishers at the rim but we settled for too many two-pointers that were not at the rim. So we’re not there yet but it will get better. We don’t want to be playing our best basketball in October and November, we want to be playing our best in February and March.”
Among the Crimson Tide newcomers, guard Jalen Shackelford was the standout, scoring 21 points with six 3-pointers, while transfer guard Beetle Bolden brought high energy on the floor and the sideline. However, Alabama will still rely on its core group of veterans: Kira Lewis Jr., John Petty, Herb Jones, Galin Smith and Alex Reese.
“Kira (Lewis) is as skilled as any kid I’ve coached offensively,” Oats said. “We’re just trying to get him to be better defensively. He’s coming, he’s working at it. I mean, he’s young. He just turned 18. He’s still a young kid.
“Herb’s overall, two-way offense and defense play is at an elite level. Now, if he can really start making shots, he’s going to be one of the better players in the country, in my opinion.”
Reese missed the Crimson Tide’s Friday workout after suffering a bruised hip in the Georgia Tech exhibition. He is expected to be available for the season opener.
National Signing Day
National Signing Day for college basketball is November 13 and Alabama is keeping its eye on a select group of prospects, including two who made campus visits for the Arkansas football/Homecoming weekend.
Keon Ambrose, a 6-foot-8 forward from Toronto now playing at Andrews Osborne Academy in Ohio, has completed his five visits and is expected to choose between Alabama, Arkansas, Dayton, North Carolina State and USC by Signing Day.
Isaiah Jackson, a 6-10 five-star prospect from Pontiac, Michigan, has narrowed his choices to Alabama, Kentucky and Syracuse and has indicated, via his father’s social media account, that he will make a final choice and sign “in mid-November.”
Nimari Burnett, a five-star point guard from Chicago now playing at Prolific Prep in Nevada, has visited UA and is also considering Michigan, Oregon and Texas Tech. He said last week that he plans to commit to a school in December and sign during the spring 2020 signing period.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt
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