Scouting Alabama basketball, finals edition

BIRMINGHAM--- Over the past few weeks we've looked at hoops prospects as they competed in their "second season." The regional tournaments at Troy and Mobile showcased the top junior in Alabama, Selma's Jai Miller, a national top sophomore, Wilcox Central's Mike Williams, and future Tider Chuck Davis of Southside-Selma. Today, we close out The Road To Birmingham in the Jefferson County Civic Center, where one future Tide footballer and one Lady Tide hoops signee showed their wares.

To the categories:

TOP PROSPECTS: For the guys, we looked in on UA football signee Juwan Garth, who doubles as the leader of the Austin Black Bear basketball squad. Garth scored 11 points, around eight below his average, and pulled down nine boards in AHS' 46-44 loss to the Tigers of Dothan. Called by DHS coach Jim Golden "an inside player who's a good athlete, " Garth had to battle 6-6 Troy St football signee Larry Brackins most of the game. Brackins blocked the 6-3 Garth's shot a few times. We were impressed by several things about Garth the future footballer, like quick feet, leaping ability, hustle and heart.

Garth, who projects as a rover at UA, could be groomed as an eventual replacement for Brooks Daniels at that slot. Juwan told us he has no plans to play any postseason all-star football games, and plans to "lift weights and work, then report to Tuscaloosa in July" for the second summer session. We found the soft-spoken Garth to be just as polite as he is athletic, and typical of the class kids Coach Fran continues to recruit and sign.

We had hoped to see Tide recruit and current Brooks-Killen junior William Roach, but his team was eliminated from the Final Four about the same time we were watching Mark Gottfried's SEC champs cut down the nets in Tuscaloosa. Roach is a 5-10 athlete who projects as a WR or DB at the next level.

Though only 6-2 or so, Tide football signee Juwan Garth has handled the post for his high school basketball team all year.

In the girls 5A final, we got to see 5-9 G/F Kate Mastin of Boaz, who signed with Rick Moody's Lady Tide in the early period. Kate averages 17 a game for the balanced Lady Pirate attack of coach Tonya Littleton.

Littleton says that in Mastin, Moody is getting "a winner. She works so hard. She's going to step it up (next year). Its not just college, its the SEC. She'll be fine."

Mastin scored 23 in her team's tough 66-63 loss to Athens in the 5A title game. 6-0 junior post player Christine Scales got MVP, and was likely noticed by Moody and his ace recruiter, Brittney Ezell.

CRIMSON CONNECTIONS: Not hard to find those at the state tourney, any year. Friday's morning session was attended by Coaches Gottfried and Pearson, who were probably there to scout West End of Birmingham's 6-4 soph Glenn Myles. Myles showed both shooting ability and athleticism in his team's loss to LeFlore, scoring 11 points.

We also ran into Moody doing some scouting and former Tide coach Wimp Sanderson, who was providing color commentary on the State Tourney Radio Network.

HOW 'BOUT THEM RIBS: Having reviewed catfish, shrimp and burgers in our first three installments, today we move to another of our culinary favorites: Barbequed spareribs. We'll take nothing away from our all-time favorite Dreamland, but we must give credit where its due: the ribs at Birmingham's Full Moon BBQ are fantastics. We've tried them at all three locations: downtown, Hoover, and this past week, Highway 280 in Inverness.

Full Moon began many years ago when former Paul "Bear" Bryant assistant coach Pat James decided to get in the restaurant business and opened the downtown location. He's since sold his share, but the institution thrives and as mentioned, is now a chain. The ribs are succulent, tender, and feature a home-made sauce that's just the right combination of sweet and hot. The potato salad and baked beans (thankfully, we were alone) were tasty, too. The sweet tea needed a little help at the 280 location, but it's been good in the past at the other two stores.

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