Avery Johnson Says He’s Not Done Yet

A week ago, the recruiting efforts of new Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson provided the pleasant surprise of signing Kobie Eubanks, a 6-5, 210-pound wing player, for the 2015-16 season. Today, Johnson said, “But wait! There’s more!”

In Monday’s Southeastern Conference basketball teleconference with SEC men’s coaches, Johnson said, “There’s going to be one more addition. We’re not finished with our roster. Obviously, everyone is always on the lookout for another big guy, but we’re going to add another wing, hopefully by the start of the second semester of summer school. He will be a fifth-year guy [graduate transfer] who has some experience.”

NCAA prohibition, of course, prevented Johnson from adding, “He is Blah Blah Blah” from the University of “Blah Blah.”

In a year in which the SEC had four changes in head coaching positions in men’s basketball, Johnson, a former NBA Coach of the Year, deemed himself “the rookie, having never coached college ball.”

Johnson said, “I’m excited to be the head basketball coach here at The University of Alabama. We have a lot of work to do here. It’s a process, but one very gratifying. We have a mixture of young players and players returning from last year who are trying to work out the chemistry on and off the floor.

“Our administration is excited about putting a basketball product on the floor that will be attractive to everyone.

“We want to put a product on the floor that is competitive not only in the SEC, but also in the nation.”

The addition of Kobie Eubanks to the class was important. Johnson said, “We were able to salvage our recruiting class with him. He’s a big, strong wing who can go to the basket. He’s expected to come in ready to play. It was a terrific pick-up for us. We were behind the eight ball in trying to complete 2015 recruiting class.”

Others in that class are Alabama’s Mr. Basketball Dazon Ingram (6-4, 180, point guard; Danta’ Hall, 6-8, 190, power forward; and Brandon Austin, 6-5, 180, small forward.

Regarding that group, Johnson said he was “thankful” to former Coach Anthony Grant and his staff “for the freshmen they had recruited. We were able to retain all of those guys.”

With no previous college coaching experience, there was some question as to whether Johnson would be a good recruiter. He said that, first of all, he had a staff familiar with recruiting. Second, he pointed out, “Just two years ago my son was in this process, so I was on the other side.”

With AAU basketball having become more and more important in the recruiting process, Johnson said, “I have been to a lot of these tournaments. People talk about the grind of going to AAU games in July, but it’s nothing like the grind of an NBA season.”


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