By Eli Kaberon
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
CHICAGO – The best passer on the Alabama campus next fall may not be Jalen Hurts. In fact, it may not be a Crimson Tide football player at all. The title may belong to Crimson Tide basketball signee Collin Sexton.
At Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-America game, Sexton put on quite the passing display. He wowed the crowd with several slick passes, showcasing why many recruiting analysts believe he is the best pure point guard in the Class of 2017. Playing for the East team, Sexton finished with eight points and seven assists, but his team fell short, falling to the West, 109-107.
“Overall, I played hard, played good defense and I played with my team,” Sexton said. “There was a few shots that I missed, but it’s not about that. It’s about giving the fans a show, and that’s what we did.
Sexton was at his best at the end of the first half. He threw three ally-oop passes in a three-minute span, all in different ways. He started off by revealing his impressive athleticism, jumping and then putting the ball between his legs, before throwing it off the backboard. Uncommitted center Mohamed Bamba was trailing, and he slammed the dunk home.
A minute later, Sexton showed his skills in the halfcourt, running a traditional pick-and-roll with Duke commit Wendell Carter, Jr. After Carter set the screen, the future Alabama point guard went to his right, taking the defender with him. When Carter was finally clear, Sexton threaded a perfect bounce past to him for the dunk.
The next time down the floor, the duo ran the same play, except this time, the pass was a lob, which Carter easily dunked.
Then with time running out on the first half, Sexton showed his flashy side. He took a bounce pass, made one dribble to the three-point line, and then went behind his back, moving the ball from his right to his left hand. Once it was in his left, Sexton threw a pass towards the hoop for uncommitted small forward Kevin Knox, who jammed it in right before the buzzer sounded.
“I used to wear No. 32 for Magic Johnson, and I like Showtime, so that’s where my inspiration came from,” Sexton said of the passes.
Missouri recruit Michael Porter, Jr. was named the game’s MVP, finishing with a game-high 17 points. Bamba led the East with 17 as well.