Alabama Begins Avery Johnson Era

Alabama’s first basketball game of the Avery Johnson Era may not be a real game, but the Friday exhibition against Trevecca Nazarene should give a hint of what to expect when the games begin for real next week.

Alabama men’s basketball will have its only exhibition game of the year in Coleman Coliseum against Trevecca Nazarene at 7 p.m. CST. There will be no radio broadcast of the game, but plans are for it to be available on SEC Network + and on Gametracker through

Crimson Tide followers can expect to get a taste of the fast flow offense new coach Avery Johnson has promised in Tuscaloosa this year. Johnson coached for seven-plus seasons in the NBA, compiling a career record of 254-186 (.577). He was tabbed the 2006 NBA Coach of the Year and led the Dallas Mavericks to the franchise’s first appearance in the NBA Finals.

Johnson has said that the shot clock – reduced to 30 seconds for college men’s basketball this year – will not be a factor for Bama. The Tide practices with a 20-second shot clock.

Of the 12 players who are eligible to compete for the Crimson Tide this season, seven are either freshmen or sophomores. Transfers Nick King from Memphis and Avery Johnson, Jr., who came from Texas A&M to play for his father, must sit out due to NCAA transfer rules.

Alabama returns six lettermen and three starters from last year’s 19-15 team. The Tide has five newcomers who are eligible to play.

Senior guard Retin Obasohan (6.2 points per game and 12 ppg over final 12 games last year) and junior forward Shannon Hale (8.2 ppg) are the leading returning scorers from a year ago. Also back is junior inside man Jimmie Taylor, who led the team with 59 blocks while averaging 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. Hale missed the last six games of last season with a broken foot.

Inside player Michael Kessens (5.9 points per game last year), wing Riley Norris, and point guard Justin Coleman are regulars from last year who are back for Bama.

Alabama lost five lettermen from last year’s team, including the top three scorers -- Levi Randolph (15.4 ppg), Ricky Tarrant (13.1), and Rodney Cooper (11.1).

Alabama opens regular season play next Friday, Nov. 13, in Coleman Coliseum against Kennesaw State with tip at 7:30 p.m. CST.

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