Gottfried Busy

Never mind that Alabama Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried is on the recruiting trail. The Crimson Tide could sign as many as three in the late signing period which begins April 12. And Gottfried also needs to keep his finger on the pulse of the coaching fraternity. After all, he could lose two of his key assistants in the next few weeks.

Alabama has a commitment from Demetrius Johnson, a 6-7, 228-pound forward from Birmingham Huffman. The Crimson Tide is thought to be on the trail of a handful of others, possibly including 7-2, 255-pound center Jason Bennett; 6-1 guard Blake Young of Daytona Beach Community College; and possibly Ray George, the former JC player who signed with Bama a year ago but was not academically eligible.

One of the prices of success is that assistant coaches from a good program sometimes have the opportunity to move up. And now two of Gottfried's top assistants–Philip Pearson and Tom Asbury–are being mentioned for head coaching jobs, Pearson at Murray State and Asbury at Pepperdine.

With those things on his mind, Gottfried has also had to make time for the media.

That's because Gottfried has the country's most unique perspective on this weekend's NCAA Basketball Final Four–even more than the likes of Billy Packer and Dick Vitale–and the national media are flocking to the Alabama coach to get his insight. That's because Gottfried and his Crimson Tide basketball team have played three of the four teams in this weekend's Final Four. Alabama has beaten two of the teams, Florida and LSU, and came just short of that goal—by a goal—against UCLA.

Alabama played LSU twice during the 2006 season, falling 68-57 in Baton Rouge on January 21, two weeks after Alabama lost for the season All-Southeastern Conference forward, Chuck Davis. It was a happier story for Alabama when the Tigers came to Tuscaloosa on February 4. Led by 21 points from sophomore point guard Ron Steele, Alabama beat LSU 67-62. Florida came calling in Tuscaloosa as a Top 10 team on February 26. Steele led the win again, this time powered by 19 points and a freshman rebound performance from Richard Hendrix that included 17 boards. Alabama played UCLA in San Diego's Cox Arena on March 18 in the second round of the Oakland Regional. Alabama fell short in that game, losing 62-59 to the Bruins to end the Tide's NCAA tournament run.

Between Monday morning and Tuesday evening, Gottfried had received 31 interview requests from the media, this in addition to addressing a group of a half dozen beatwriters from Alabama's daily newspapers as well as area television stations. Among the national shows he will appear on this week is ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Sunday morning at 8:30 CT with Bob Ley. He'll be live on ESPN News with its Final Four preview show on Friday night between 6 – 7 p.m. CT. CSS will air an interview with Gottfried on "The 3-Point Club" with former Mississippi State coach Richard Williams on Friday at 2:30 p.m. CT and again at 9 p.m. CT and again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. He was on Fox SportsNet's March Madness Coaches Show with Tim Brando on Tuesday.

His many radio appearances include Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show on Friday, as well as a 7 a.m. CT appearance on "Mayhem in the Morning" on 790 the Zone in Atlanta, Andy Katz's ESPN show on Saturday, Sporting News Radio, and "Game Time" with Seth Greenberg and Sean Farnham on Saturday at 11:05 a.m. CT, among others. Newspapers from Los Angeles to Atlanta have also called for his take on the match-ups.

Gottfried will be in Indianapolis beginning Thursday to attend the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention which is always held the weekend of the Final Four in the same city as the Final Four. He'll attend Saturday's semifinal games but will return to Tuscaloosa on Sunday afternoon.

Alabama will honor its 2005-06 men's basketball team with its annual awards banquet on Tuesday, April 4. The banquet will be held at Sellers Auditorium in the Bryant Conference Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. CT and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. CT.

The event, co-sponsored by the Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club and the University of Alabama's TIDE PRIDE, is open to the public. Tickets are $20 per person. The deadline for ordering tickets is Thursday, March 30th. Persons wanting to purchase tickets should call the TIDE PRIDE office at (205) 348-6113.

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