As much as the thought of losing Dudley, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, pains followers of the Crimson Tide program, it excites Jermareo Davidson. Bama received its first verbal commitment of its 2003 class last week in the 6-10 Davidson. What attracted Davidson to Alabama was the fact that Dudley won't be there.
Don't misunderstand the Stone Mountain, Georgia, native. When choosing his college, he wanted to go to a place where he could play right away, and he will certainly have that opportunity at Alabama. The Tide will return just two post players for Davidson's freshman year at the Capstone.
"If I wasn't going to be at Alabama, I would have gone to UGA," says Davidson, who chose the Tide over a number of SEC and ACC schools, plus Cincinnati and Missouri. "Some guys that are there now won't be there when I get there. I think I can come in and start and lead the team right away."
Davidson is rated as a national top-100 recruit by numerous publications. He averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and almost five blocks at Stone Mountain High School as a junior last year. He had high games of 25 points and 23 rebounds.
Davidson was invited to the Nike All-American camp last week, but was unable to participate because of a severe ankle sprain he suffered on the first day of the camp. Last spring he made the all-tournament teams at the Southern Invitational, Atlanta Basketball Classic and Howard Pulley Invitational.
According to TheInsiders.com basketball recruiting expert Dave Telep, Davidson's listed height of 6-10 is legitimate. "He's long, lean and looks like he's going to be a big-time defender as well," Telep said. "Normally, 6-10 kids aren't as athletic or as good a passer as Davidson is. He's very big and athletic. Athletic, long-armed and a fine defender. Davidson can really pass the basketball as well.
"I love his upside."
Telep, who operates Dave Telep's the InsidersHoops.com website on TheInsiders.com network, currently ranks Davidson as the 16th best power forward prospect in the nation.
Davidson weighs 220 pounds, but his natural position is power forward, which is where Gottfried will use him. Davidson said a priority of his is to bulk up before he gets to campus next summer.
"I play power forward, but I can play any position except point guard," Davidson said. "(Gottfried) wants me to get a little bigger (before I get to UA next summer)."
Gottfried has made it no secret that recruiting big men is his priority for the class of 2003. Bama will have at least three scholarships available for next year with the departure of Dudley, Walker and shooting guard Terrance Meade.
Schools linked to Davidson during the recruiting process included Georgia, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson, Missouri, Indiana and Mississippi State. According to Davidson's AAU Coach Desmond Eastmond, "everybody" offered Davidson a scholarship.
Davidson can officially sign on to play for the Tide Nov. 13, the first day of the early signing period.