Tide Players Are Impressed With Grant
Alabama players who wonder what it will be like playing for new Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant need look no further than post player JaMychal Green. Green met Grant last summer when Green played and Grant helped coach the USA's Under-18 team in Argentina at the FIBA America's coaches fund-raiser.
"He's a great man," Green said. "He stayed on me a lot because I was kind of out of shape." Green said that wouldn't be a problem in his next encounter with the coach.
All three Alabama players who attended the press conference said essentially the same thing: they are excited about the hire and look forward to a more up-tempo style of play.
Green remembers playing fast at Montgomery's St. Jude Institute. "During my high school years, we ran up-tempo," he said. "That's something I'm looking forward to getting back to."
Andrew Steele, a rising sophomore guard, agreed.
"I can't wait," he said. "That's what we played in high school." Steele, like Green also an upcoming sophomore said, "It's going to be very exciting."
Steele, a former star at Birmingham John Carroll, said he first heard of Grant "when VCU beat Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament."
That's when a number of people first became aware of the rising star in the college basketball coaching ranks.
The only rising senior at the press conference also gave a big seal of approval regarding Grant's style of play. "That's our team," said guard Mikhail Torrance. "That's who we are. We have a lot of long, lean, athletic guys."
Torrance said he first learned on Friday that Grant had taken the job. "My mother called me," he said. "I had no idea. I was excited. When I heard we were after him I got on my knees and prayed. That God we got him. He's a great coach and a great guy. I just can't wait to get started. It's my senior season coming up."
Grant met with Tide players early Sunday afternoon. "He just told us what he expected," said Green, who also met with Grant when Grant visiting Tuscaloosa last Wednesday. "He told us that he was committed to us and that he was going to give us his all. He said we'd be able to trust him."
Green added, "He told us we'd be up-tempo. We want to be a running team, so that was probably the most exciting thing he said."
Torrance watched VCU play several games in the past season and liked what he saw of Grant's style of play.
"They were up-tempo, defensive-minded team," Torrance said. "They pressure a lot, sometimes 40 minutes. I think that's going to make us look a lot better than we have in the past Everybody's excited about it. We were more of a half-court defensive team, but I think the athletes on our team are the same type he's looking for. I just can't wait to get starter."
During the team meeting, Torrance said he noticed Grant's "professionalism. He's really a great person. He always has that same intense look on his face. He doesn't change expression much. I like his business approach. He did say the up-tempo style was going to be one of the hardest things we've ever prepared for. It's all worth it in the end. His resume speaks for itself. he wins. That's the most important thing at the end of the day.
"The key thing for me: he really cares about us. It's been a long process for us, but I'm happy we got him."
Said Steele, "I think he's the kind of guy we can trust and believe in. He's sincere. Having that confident a coach is a big part of how we are going to be successful.
"For the last two months we've been wondering about what's going to happy next year. I think a lot of those questions are answered and now we have a good idea of what we can be looking forward to."
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