Tide Head Coach Mark Gottfried faces a 2003-04 basketball season where he'll be replacing four starters, three of those four-year starters who graduated and a fourth, Mo Williams, who left early for the NBA. Alabama's cupboard was left bare experience-wise because of those losses.
In order to get a jump on the season and help his team gain some experience, Gottfried took his players here to Nassau to get some game experience against some international competition, a move he says he's glad he made.
"It helped us. Tonight I looked at Chuck (Davis) and Evan (Brock) especially, and those guys had to play in a competitive game and I thought they played well," said Gottfried whose team now must but the basketballs away again until practice begins in mid-October.
"The competition wasn't what we would have had in some different parts of the world, which is what the original plan was until world events made travel to Europe a safety issue. But we still had five games and our guys had to play and they had to play with a new group of players from a year ago. So overall it was good."
Alabama's ten returning veterans made the trip as its five freshmen, by NCAA rules, were not allowed to make it. Gottfried says the addition of those players still keeps his starting lineup spots open.
"I think it's still wide open. I think it's going to be very competition come fall. We have a long way to go before we become a competitive team in the SEC, but this was a good start for us."
In Alabama's game on Saturday night, junior guard Earnest Shelton led all scorers with 28 points. He made six three-point shots for 18 of those points.
Alabama was 43 of 76 for 56.6 percent from the field, 7 of 19 from 3-point range and 16 of 20 at the free throw line. Brock led Alabama with 13 of its 43 rebounds.
The Crimson Tide led 61-53 at the half after swapping leads up to the middle of the second period.