Thursday, March 31, 2011

Super Fun Season Ends....

"Bama Basketball is not good right now"

Thats the text message I received from a friend while I was at work after Tony Mitchell's jumper rolled out as time expired in a 50-49 loss to St. Peter's on an early November afternoon.

My thoughts on Alabama Basketball ran rampant. Maybe they aren't that good, maybe we don't have the right coach, maybe he can't recruit, maybe St. Peter's is better than advertised, etc., etc.

But at that point, it looked as if my basketball season tickets were going to be worthless again, just keeping my good seats in hope of seeing better days way in the future, rooting for a couple of home upsets to make the trips to T-Town worthwhile as my kids anticapte each night's Taco/Hot Sauce race.

But then things turned around as the calander flipped to 2011 and JaMychal Green returned from suspension, a freshman point guard became the mistro of the fast break, coupled with a return to tenacious defense, Alabama immediately transformed itself into the most enjoyable Crimson Tide Hoops squad I've ever had the pleasure to watch in the last 25 years.

The team played hard every night, to the best of its abilities, maximized its talent despite being undersized and undermanned. A funny thing happened along the way. The fans came out in droves to support this team, to watch them because they gave it their all and by doing so found ways to win games they had no business being in. All of this at a "Football School."

Alabama has a very underrated fan base in basketball. They will sell out Coleman if you give them a reason to come out, they will get large crowds for even meaningless non conference games if their is hope for greater prizes down the road. Even the bitter Mark Gottfried's team, when they had high expectations, drew well for non league games between 2003-2007. The thing is you can't fool the hard core Tide hoops fan. We know good basketball/effort/coaching when we see it and we also know when its bad. The support will be there when the effort is there and thats what happened in 2010-11.

Coleman Coliseum has suddenly become as house of horrors for opponents, as Alabama reeled of a 19-0 home record, in front of 6 sell outs and the loudest crowd (Arkansas) since the 2006 season. Too top this off, the loudest crowd I've heard since the 2002 SEC Title game vs Florida came to Coleman to watch 'Bama dismantle a very athletic Miami team to clinch a trip to NYC.

With a highly touted incoming recruiting class that will bring some much needed outside shooting, the return of Mitchell, Green and Trevor Releford, an energized fan base, a great coach, the stage is set for even better things for Alabama Hoops. The senior class of Junkyard Dog Chris Hines, Senario Hillman and Charvez Davis will be missed but not forgotten. Undoubtedly Coach Grant is going to win championships and they're going to built off the back of the memorable team and season.

As my 6 year old son said after a Tony Mitchell dunk tonight, "thats what I'm talking about!" Pretty soon, the rest of the basketball world will be talking about Alabama Basketball too...

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