The University of Alabama men’s basketball team was predicted to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference in the 2017-18 Media Poll released annually in conjunction with the league’s Media Days which began Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.
Crimson Tide freshman guard Collin Sexton was chosen to the Preseason All-SEC second team by the media, the only Alabama player selected.
“My first year we were picked 13th,” said Alabama head coach Avery Johnson, who is going into his third year at UA. “Last year we were picked seventh. So we understand that there is going to be more responsibility when you get more attention. That’s what our players want. They want to be on the big stage. They want to have that type of excitement around our program. I like the additional pressure, because it’s on the coach and our staff. Hopefully we will play well.”
Johnson also said he was not surprised by Sexton’s selection.
“Collin is outstanding as far as his talent level and he’s gifted athletically. At our Pro Day, his measurements… in shuttle run, vertical jump, I mean, he’s off the charts for somebody that’s 6-2. This guy is as fast as anybody I’ve ever seen, collegiate or pro level.
“He’s talented but the great thing about him is he loves to win. He’s not beating his own chest. He wants Alabama to be good, and he’s very unselfish in the way he plays the game.”
Perennial league favorite Kentucky was picked No. 1 in the media poll, followed by Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama and Missouri. The first-team All-SEC selections were Florida guard Kevaughn Allen, Kentucky forward Hamadou Diallo, Georgia center Yante Maten, Texas A&M forward Robert Williams and Missouri freshman forward Michael Porter, Jr.
Anticipation for the UA season has been high because of returning players like Dazon Ingram and Braxton Key, both of whom were in attendance on Wednesday in Nashville, as well as a strong recruiting class.
“We have our full roster, and everybody’s working hard out there. Our fans are as excited as they’ve been in years. We want to continue to seize that momentum. Plus, this is the first year since I’ve been at Alabama where I feel we’ve got that really good blend of young players and returning players.”
Johnson was asked several questions about the FBI investigation into college basketball but referred reporters back to the university’s original statement which indicated no NCAA violations. Earlier this week, UA confirmed that it had not received a subpoena from a New York federal grand jury that has issued subpoenas to schools whose personnel has been arrested in the FBI probe.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.