Alabama basketball's Jahvon Quinerly ready to start at point guard after sitting out season as transfer

Cecil Hurt
Tidesports

A year away from basketball may have been the most frustrating 12 months of Jahvon Quinerly’s young life, far from home and wondering why the arbitrary NCAA transfer process had denied him a merited waiver to play for Alabama basketball.

Now, he sees a silver lining.

"At Villanova, for me, I wasn't having fun anymore while I was there,” he said on a preseason Zoom call that also included UA coach Nate Oats. “I lost my love for the game there. I wasn't a fit for their system."

Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly (13) handles the ball during practice for the Alabama men's basketball team Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Quinerly, a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, saw Alabama’s uptempo style as a better opportunity to showcase his skills. Denied that opportunity, he adjusted to life as a practice player. 

"In the beginning it was tough for me,” he said. “The reality of not being able to play was hard. I feel like once the season really started, I’m still practicing with guys. Still going head to head with Kira (Lewis) every day in practice. It gave me a different perspective.

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"I plan on honestly, just (doing) whatever coach wants me to do. If he wants me to be the scrappiest guard, organize the team, whatever he wants me to do that's what I'm willing to do. I'm just very excited for these next three weeks and finally getting to put on an Alabama jersey and play for my school and these coaches and show the work I've put in the last two years."

Quinerly will have a large role for Alabama as the starting point guard but has also received a morale boost from his younger brother, Jaden, who joined the Crimson Tide as a walk-on for 2020-21.

"We are 13 or 14 hours away from (home in) New Jersey,” Quinerly said. “it's tough. Having him here with me is amazing. I needed that little piece of home with me here. It's tough being away from home, I'm a family man."

Oats also spoke on a variety of topics on the Zoom call. 

"Everything looks good on Alex Tchikou,” Oats said when asked about the 6-11 freshman forward who had Achilles’ tendon surgery two weeks ago. “His surgery went well. He has been super engaged at practice. At first they put him on crutches but 6-11 on crutches, he couldn’t figure them out, so they gave him one of those little scooters. Now he is buzzing all over practice on his scooter.

“We are starting to get him in the weight room now, some limited stuff. We want to get some weight on him while he's out. If we can get him bulked up (from 210 pounds) to maybe to 240, 245 pounds, we're going to try.

"Juwan Gary (out for over a year with a knee injury) is coming along, he's been able to do some half-court stuff. He is not getting up and down the court, so I doubt he's cleared by Game One.”

On recruiting as the early signing period begins next Wednesday: "We have three commitments and we expect them to sign early. We are still recruiting other guys. We've got some that we've been heavily involved with for some time now. ... We're still planning on signing five (players). Whether that’s three on Wednesday and two in the late period, we will see.”

Alabama’s three early commitments are five-star point guard J.D. Davidson of Letohatchee, 6-foot-6 wing Jusuan Holt of St. Mary’s, Ga., and 6-9 forward Langston Wilson of Georgia Highlands Junior College.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt