What To Look For In Tide Exhibition

The Alabama men's basketball team isn't quite ready for the rigors of the Southeastern Conference season, but it's likely the Crimson Tide players are ready to play against someone besides their Bama teammates. They get that chance in an exhibition game tonight.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant gets to look at his Crimson Tide in the first of two pre-season exhibition games at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Coleman Coliseum against Talladega College.

Even though Bama had some surprise losses in the off-season with upcoming seniors Justin Knox transferring to North Carolina and Demetrius Jemison leaving for Manhattan, the Tide really has only one starting position to fill. It is a big one, though. Mikhail Torrance was not only Alabama's starting point guard last year, he turned out to be the Tide's top scorer.

The bulk of the lineup returns. JaMychal Green, the 6-9, 230-pound junior forward, is a pre-season All-SEC selection. Bama has very athletic wing players in Senario Hillman and Tony Mitchell. Late last season Chris Hines emerged as a solid inside player. Green averaged 14.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, Mitchell 9.2 and 5.9, Hillman 7.9 and 3.0, and Hines 3.7 and 4.2.

About the only thing known of Talladega College is its coach is William Brown, who was Green's high school coach at Montgomery's St. Jude.

One man who won't be participating in tonight's scrimmage and for perhaps a few more weeks is outside shooting specialist Charvez Davis, who is recuperating from surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Although there are numerous players to watch, it is likely the two coming in for most scrutiny are two newcomers. Freshman Trevor Releford, who led his high school team to the state championship in Kansas last year, has received outstanding reviews from returning Tide players for his work at point guard. He's competing with returning back-up Ben Eblen and freshman combination guard Charles Hankerson, Jr.

The other intriguing newcomer is Alabama's tallest basketball player ever. Freshman Carl Engstrom of Sweden is being brought along slowly. Grant frequently reminds that the 7-foot-1 Engstrom is a good athlete, but that he hasn't played basketball very long, only two years. Tide players say Engstrom is a good athlete and hard worker.

Other newcomers on display include forwards Jason Carter, a freshman, and Kendal Durant, a junior college transfer.

Andrew Steele, a small forward who missed last season with an ankle injury, returns for the Tide.

Alabama has been picked to finish third in the SEC Western Division in pre-season polls. In Grant's first year at the helm last season, Bama was 17-15, including 6-10 in conference games.

BamaMag Top Stories