Over the next couple of days I will break down and look into the crystal ball for Alabama, Auburn, and UAB basketball. They're all coming of disappointing seasons, but where are these programs heading?
Part 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
The future is bright for Anthony Grant and his Alabama basketball team. This season wasn't what they had hoped for, but they showed some flashes of being a good team. Really if you toss out the month of December this is a NCAA Tournament team, but this is sports and they lost those games and the NIT was their punishment for doing so.
Next year will be Anthony Grant's best team since stepping foot on the Capstone. The Tide had good guard play this season, but never got much from their forwards or centers. Nick Jacobs started to come on late in the season, but is a little undersized at 6'8". Next season should be a better year for Devonta Pollard and Moussa Gueye along with the return of Carl Engstrom. So I think the post play will improve next season. The only player Alabama has to replace is guard Andrew Steele who never gave the Tide a lot of points, but offered a lot of leadership. Next year's team will be full of upperclassmen so leadership shouldn't be an issue.
So it's not a stretch to look at a team that finished with 23 wins and finished in second place in the SEC that returns almost every player and say they should be a team to watch out for next season. Is the sky the limit for this team next year? Trevor Releford seems to think so "We want to be in the tournament and making a run there. It's all a learning lesion like coach said if we all learn from this and get better and evaluate ourselves then the sky is the limit for us". Guard Trevor Lacey also thinks they can make a run next year "We're looking forward to next year. Unfortunately our season just ended, but you know next year we'll be looking to make a run".
ALABAMA FALLS TO MARYLAND IN THE NIT
The question now becomes what happens if this team fails to make the "bid dance" again? Will it be time to evaluate Grant? A lot of factors would go into that, but if the Tide doesn't make it to a different March Madness tournament next season it will be a failure of a season.
Alabama Tonight Blogger - Patrick Pierce @Patrickp13
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