Hurt Has Beef For Tide Basketball

Alabama basketball continues to hunt for talented big men capable of diversifying its attack. An offensive presence in the paint challenges the opposition. A player commanding double teams frees the shooters wishing to launch unencumbered from the perimeter. Lipscomb University transfer Stephen Hurt, a 6-10, 275 pound center, could be the third transfer added to the 2013-14 Tide roster.

Anthony Grant and company are evaluating proven Division I performers.

Alabama and Ole Miss are the top two suitors piquing the curiosity of the behemoth big man according to Siegel High School (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) Coach Ben Dotson with Tennessee in the chase.

Stephen Hurt was granted a release last Friday. A coaching change precipitated the desire to transfer. Scott Sanderson, son of former Alabama Coach Wimp Sanderson, resigned in April after 14 seasons at Lipscomb University following a 12-18 record.

Stephen Hurt was honored as the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg for the 2012-13 season. He ranked as the No. 2 scoring and rebounding freshman center in the nation for the Bisons.

"He has put together a good body of work last year," said Dotson. "Stephen wants to get into the post season and get some exposure. He's a great kid, worked hard and busted his tail the last few years. I think he has a good shot to go somewhere and produce."

The redshirt freshman is known for having great hands, a soft touch around the goal and capable of stepping out to shoot.

"He is not your typical hybrid player of today. He is the old bang and bruiser down low in the post area," claims Dotson. "Where he does real well also is as the trailer on the break."

Hurt is a space-eater on defense and aggressive rebounder.

Dotson said, "He's got great footwork and clogs up the middle pretty good. He has some big mittens for rebounding. Shot-blocking (16 last season) is not his forte but it's hard to get around him. He is going to dare you to come into him to challenge his physical strength. He bench presses over 300 pounds. He loves the weight room."

Hurt is soft-spoken, a good academic student with an excellent work ethic. His Dad, 6-8, Garland Hurt, played Division II basketball in West Virginia.

"He comes from good solid people. I wish I had ten like him," said Dotson who reached out to Anthony Grant to gauge interest. "He (Grant) recruited one of my kids a couple of years ago that ended up at Middle Tennessee State University. They definitely want to bring him (Hurt) in for a visit after the dead period."

Hurt has the Tide at the top of the list due to the style of play.

"They are not an 80 or 90 point game type of team. They grind it out and wait on the middle guy to get position," Dotson explains. "They are not a flashy team. Alabama is a roll your sleeves up kind of team and let's get after it."

Hurt would satisfy a void in the trenches for a team seeking a double-digit low post scorer.

Dotson said, "If he gets down to Alabama, you're going to have to keep (Nick) Saban away from him. He casts a big shadow."

Tuscaloosa has become a popular destination for Division I talent seeking an upgrade in program level. Tulane University guard Ricky Tarrant (6-2, 195 pounds) and Longwood University forward Michael Kessens (6-9, 205 pounds) are two transfers having signed earlier this spring with Alabama. Hurt would have to sit out the 2013-14 season with two years of eligibility remaining.

Three transfers in one signing class might be a school record.

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