University of Alabama men’s basketball coach Avery Johnson said Friday that the UA team “has had some adversity” but “we’ve hit it face on, we’re not hiding”‘as the Crimson Tide went through its opening day of practice for the 2017-18 season.
Johnson did not meet with the media on Friday, but made the comments in a UA-produced video interview. He gave no specifics of the “adversity” but UA associate athletics director for basketball Kobie Baker resigned on Wednesday after being identified as part of an FBI probe into corruption in college basketball.
No Alabama players were held out of Friday’s practice. The 15-player roster includes six newcomers including freshman All-Americans Collin Sexton and John Petty, both of whom participated on Friday.
“All of our players are excited and ready for practice,” Johnson said. “As the leader of the program, there is no surrender in my belief in them and this coaching staff.
“My excitement level is at an all-time high.”
Johnson said his message to the team as practice began was a positive one.
“My basic message to the team is (that) in your life, you are going to have adversity whether it is expected or unexpected,” he said. “How you respond to adversity really shows what character you’ve got.”
Although the preseason Associated Press poll is a month away, Alabama is expected to be a preseason Top 25 team this season for the first time since 2011. Among the current preseason top-25 polls that have been released, the Tide checks in at No. 19 in the nation according to CBSSports.com and No. 24 by Blue Ribbon’s Preseason Top 25, while USA Today gives Alabama a preseason ranking of No. 25 nationally.
Alabama will open the season with an exhibition game vs. UAH on Nov. 6. The regular season will begin on Nov. 10 against the Memphis Tigers in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Md. That contest, which will be the first game of a doubleheader at the U.S. Naval Academy, will tip at 5:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on CBSSports.com. Navy will host Pittsburgh in the second game.
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