A.P. Steadham

Alabama men’s basketball has nation’s second best recruiting class

Here’s a look at Alabama’s new men’s basketball signeees

Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson called it a “huge day” for Alabama basketball when recruiting was finished with five top prospects signed before his press briefing Friday morning.

“I don’t care where we are ranked,” he said. “I think it’s number one.”

Alabama ranked second in the nation, behind only Arizona, in the Scout.com team rankings. It is the highest-rated signing class in Bama basketball history.

Johnson pointed to Alabama’s recruiting class including the three highest-rated prospects in the state in John Petty, Alex Reese, and Herb Jones; the top center in Mississippi in Galin Smith; and the top guard in Georgia in Collin Sexton.

Jones said, “This was our vision – to put a team on the floor that could compete for championships,” as well as be good students and citizens.

“This was about a group of people pulling in the same direction,” Johnson said. He thanked his coaching staff for the “endless hours” they spent building relationships with the prospects. “They may bring me in to close the deal, but those are the eight-inning guys.”

He also mentioned having prospects meeting with faculty members on their visits and thanking both the faculty members and the Alabama athletics academics support staff.

He even thanked the master recruiter, Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban.

Johnson said that when he arrived at Alabama, he knew Tide recruiting would be behind. He and his staff set about identifying prospects (including some “diamonds in the rough”) and settled on “about 15. We knew we wouldn’t get them all, but we thought if we got five of them it would be a good recruiting class.”

Here is a look at Alabama’s new signing class:

The crown jewel of the Alabama signing class is 6-2, 175-pound Collin Sexton of Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Ga. Sexton is ranked the No. 2 point guard in the nation and the ninth-best player nationwide by Scout, which has him as a five-star prospect.

Sexton chose Alabama over Kansas, North Carolina State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State.

He played for the United States U17 team for USA Basketball that won the gold medal in the FIBA World Championships, averaging 17 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game in the event.

Playing AAU ball for NIKE, Sexton led EYBL in scoring with 31.7 points per game.

He is the highest ranked basketball player to sign with Alabama in the history of Scout rankings.

The Scout analysis:

At 6-foot-2, Collin Sexton has impressive physical features for a lead guard. He's solidly built, with a lengthy set of arms. Sexton is extremely quick and has an explosive first step. He's also an impressive all around athlete. Sexton stays in attack mode and is more of a new age, scoring lead guard than a true point. His quickness and nifty ball handling allow him to create space from defenders with ease. In one viewing in December, Sexton pumped in four three-pointers, all four coming off the dribble. His shot looks goods and he has deep range. He's comfortable scoring off the bounce and can do it from all three levels, as he's also equipped with floaters, mid-range pull-ups and can score it through contact at the basket. Sexton also likes to play fast, push the tempo and is tough to contain because of his speed, strength and athletic ability. Defensively, Sexton has quite a bit of potential, as he's laterally quick, has good instincts and is long, like mentioned above. Overall, Sexton is tracking as a high major prospect.

John Petty, 6-5, 180, is a four-star wing guard from Huntsville. He is ranked 44th in the nation regardless of position by Scout, and No. 9 at wing guard. He is the number one prospect in Alabama.

He was named Mr. Basketball in Alabama last season after leading J.O. Johnson to back-to-back state championships. J.O. Johnson closed and he is now at Mae Jemison for his senior season.

Last year he averaged 19.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 blocked shots, and 1.8 steals as Johnson went 29-5.

Petty chose Alabama over Kentucky after dropping Florida State, UConn, and Kansas.

The Scout analysis:

A tremendous shooting guard prospect, Petty has good size (6-foot-5) and athleticism for the position. He's a very good leaper and uses his athleticism when he attacks the rim both in transition and in the half court. Petty moves his feet well laterally and has potential as a wing defender. He has a reputation as a shooter, but struggled some shooting the ball from three in the EYBL. He's good when he attacks and is comfortable from mid-range.

Signing on Wednesday, the first permissible day for the 2017-18 class, were:

Herb Jones, a 6-7 swingman from Newburn who plays at Hale County High School. He is the 30th ranked small forward in the nation and a three-star prospect.

As a junior Jones averaged 15 points with seven rebounds per game and was a second team Class 3A All-State selection.

He selected Alabama over Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech.

Alex Reese is a 6-9, 230-pound power forward from Pelham who is a four-star and ranked seventh in the nation at his position.

The Scout Analysis:

Alex Reese is a very skilled four man with good size and decent length. His best attribute is his shooting ability, as he's a tough player to defend given his size and prowess as a shooter. Not just a shooter, Reese can take bigger defenders off the dribble and finish at the basket. He gets out in transition and has nice touch in the paint. Reese is also a very good passer for the position.

Galin Smith is a 6-9, 225-pound center from Clinton (Miss.) High School. He chose Alabama over Tulane.

For the summer Smith posted modest numbers of 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while playing on one of the top teams in the EYB, Team Penny.

.His high school coach, Dr. Clay Norton, said Smith “has a tremendous upside. He is immensely strong and works out in the weight room. He accepted the challenge and has done everything we have asked of him. He blocks out well and will try to dunk everything he can get his hands on.  He has great hands and displays good footwork in the post. He can step out and hit the three but that is not his role for us. Galin will be a good post player, a stretch four player possibly in college.  He is pretty consistent 15 feet from the short corner to the high elbow spot.” Sexton chose Alabama over Kansas, North Carolina State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State.

He played for the United States U17 team for USA Basketball that won the gold medal in the FIBA World Championships, averaging 17 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game in the event.

Playing AAU ball for NIKE, Sexton led EYBL in scoring with 31.7 points per game.

He is the highest ranked basketball player to sign with Alabama in the history of Scout rankings.

The Scout analysis:

At 6-foot-2, Collin Sexton has impressive physical features for a lead guard. He's solidly built, with a lengthy set of arms. Sexton is extremely quick and has an explosive first step. He's also an impressive all around athlete. Sexton stays in attack mode and is more of a new age, scoring lead guard than a true point. His quickness and nifty ball handling allow him to create space from defenders with ease. In one viewing in December, Sexton pumped in four three-pointers, all four coming off the dribble. His shot looks goods and he has deep range. He's comfortable scoring off the bounce and can do it from all three levels, as he's also equipped with floaters, mid-range pull-ups and can score it through contact at the basket. Sexton also likes to play fast, push the tempo and is tough to contain because of his speed, strength and athletic ability. Defensively, Sexton has quite a bit of potential, as he's laterally quick, has good instincts and is long, like mentioned above. Overall, Sexton is tracking as a high major prospect.

John Petty, 6-5, 180, is a four-star wing guard from Huntsville. He is ranked 44th in the nation regardless of position by Scout, and No. 9 at wing guard. He is the number one prospect in Alabama.

He was named Mr. Basketball in Alabama last season after leading J.O. Johnson to back-to-back state championships. J.O. Johnson closed and he is now at Mae Jemison for his senior season.

Last year he averaged 19.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 blocked shots, and 1.8 steals as Johnson went 29-5.

Petty chose Alabama over Kentucky after dropping Florida State, UConn, and Kansas.

The Scout analysis:

A tremendous shooting guard prospect, Petty has good size (6-foot-5) and athleticism for the position. He's a very good leaper and uses his athleticism when he attacks the rim both in transition and in the half court. Petty moves his feet well laterally and has potential as a wing defender. He has a reputation as a shooter, but struggled some shooting the ball from three in the EYBL. He's good when he attacks and is comfortable from mid-range.

Signing on Wednesday, the first permissible day for the 2017-18 class, were:

Herb Jones, a 6-7 swingman from Newburn who plays at Hale County High School. He is the 30th ranked small forward in the nation and a three-star prospect.

As a junior Jones averaged 15 points with seven rebounds per game and was a second team Class 3A All-State selection.

He selected Alabama over Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech.

Alex Reese is a 6-9, 230-pound power forward from Pelham who is a four-star and ranked seventh in the nation at his position.

The Scout Analysis:

Alex Reese is a very skilled four man with good size and decent length. His best attribute is his shooting ability, as he's a tough player to defend given his size and prowess as a shooter. Not just a shooter, Reese can take bigger defenders off the dribble and finish at the basket. He gets out in transition and has nice touch in the paint. Reese is also a very good passer for the position.

Galin Smith is a 6-9, 225-pound center from Clinton (Miss.) High School. He chose Alabama over Tulane.

For the summer Smith posted modest numbers of 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while playing on one of the top teams in the EYB, Team Penny.

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.His high school coach, Dr. Clay Norton, said Smith “has a tremendous upside. He is immensely strong and works out in the weight room. He accepted the challenge and has done everything we have asked of him. He blocks out well and will try to dunk everything he can get his hands on.  He has great hands and displays good footwork in the post. He can step out and hit the three but that is not his role for us. Galin will be a good post player, a stretch four player possibly in college.  He is pretty consistent 15 feet from the short corner to the high elbow spot.”


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