It would be important for Tide to collect some of this 2008 talent for the program to go to the next level. That level is to have a bench full of four and five star players that Duke, UNC, and UCLA have enjoyed for so many years. But first, it would have to start with the in-state talent that is laid out before us. Talent, that loaded the 2004 and 2008 classes, do not come around very often, so you have to capitalize.
When the team failed to meet the high expectation of last season, the first worry was the recruitment of this 2008 class. The coaching staff did not worry, they went to WORK.
Alabama received verbal commitments from two of the top three prospects in the state of Alabama in JaMychal Green and Andrew Steele.
Across the state line, Alabama got the nod on the fourth best prospect in the state of Georgia in Tony Mitchell.
The coaching staff continued on the prowl for a couple of other highly ranked prospects, but lost out in the end with some hard fought recruiting battles. This class is still respectable (No.12 nationally by Scout.com) which should pay dividends sooner than later.
Below is a breakdown of Bama's 2008 recruiting class thus far.
JaMychal Green (5-star power forward, No.17 overall prospect in the nation)
Green is the front-runner to win Mr. Basketball in the state of Alabama. He performs in the lowest classification in this state, but his game is on a much higher level. In describing Green, one word comes to mind – TENACITY.
He is very active around the basket in terms of rebounding (glass eater) and putting the ball in the hole. In his junior season, he averaged 25 points, 16 rebounds, and eight blocks in leading St. Jude of Montgomery, (Ala.) to runner-up in the state playoffs in 1A.
For his efforts, he was awarded Birmingham News' First Team All-State in that division. Green should eventually take the place of Richard Hendrix with his excellent size and strength.
Tony Mitchell (4-star small forward, No.34 overall prospect in the nation)
Mitchell can compare to one Kennedy Winston (before the knee problems). This guy is a slasher with hops to boot. Video clips of him are eye-popping with dunks in transition and in traffic. Where some players need two legs for elevation, he can do off one leg on a full sprint.
Mitchell was awarded the 2007 Georgia Class AA Player of the Year for Swainsboro High School in Swainsboro, (Ga.). With his stream-lined build, he should eventually take the place of Alonzo Gee.
Andrew Steele (4-star guard, No.80 overall prospect in the nation)
I will make no reference to his brother, because Andrew has made a name for himself. Even though they look similar appearance wise, Andrew is bigger in the upper body. He likes to use that body for driving the lane on lay-ups or dishing the rock. But where the body really comes in handy is on the defensive end.
During the AAU circuit last summer, the younger Steele would stifle and frustrate some of the most talented guards in the country. In his junior season, Andrew averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in leading John Carroll of Birmingham, (Ala.) to runner-up in the state playoffs in 5A.
For his efforts, he was awarded Birmingham News' First Team All-State in that division. It's hard to say where Andrew will play, because just like his brother, he can play both guard positions.
Discuss Tide Basketball at BamaMag.com's basketball board (click here).