Alabama Basketball Opens Season Friday Night

As is often the case in Tuscaloosa (and many other spots around the Southeastern Conference), a basketball season arrives on cats’ paws. The consuming interest at Alabama is on the monumental football game against Mississippi State Saturday. But Coach Anthony Grant’s Crimson Tide men’s basketball team is opening its season Friday night hosting Towson State.

Alabama was only lukewarm impressive in its one public showing this year, an 81-67 exhibition win over Montevallo. It will be the real thing for the Crimson Tide with an 8 p.m. CST Friday tipoff against Towson State, part of the CBE Classic that has teams playing games at various campus sites around the country.

Alabama doesn’t announce starting lineups, but with four starters returning from last season it’s not difficult to have an idea at how Bama opens up. Only All-SEC guard Trevor Releford is gone from the starting lineup.

Guard Levi Randolph is Bama’s top returning starter at 9.6 points per game last year. Guard Rodney Cooper(7.7 ppg last year) is the top returning rebounder (4.9). Two 2014 freshmen were impressive. Forward Shannon Hale averaged 8.8 ppg and 3.6 rpg and center Jimmie Taylor averaged 3.0 ppg and 3.3 rpg and led the team with 40 blocked shots.

Freshman Justin Coleman was impressive in the exhibition game at point guard and could be in the starting lineup.

On the injury front, Grant said that guards Retin Obasohan (9.5 ppg last year) and Ricky Tarrant are probable for the game, but that forward Michael Kessens would continue to be held out. All missed the exhibition game. Tarrant and Kessens are transfers who practiced with the team last year.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant pointed out that Towson State is coming off a successful season. In fact, it was the most successful season in the school’s history, a 25-11 worksheet. Over the past two years under Coach Pat Skerry the Tigers have won 43 games.

Grant described Towson as tough and physical and said it would be a good challenge for his squad.

The Tigers are led by returning starters guard Four McGlynn (9.2 ppg) and 6-7 forward Timajh Parker-Rivera (6.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Towson, however, lost four men who averaged in double figures in scoring.


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