No Starters Back For Tide Basketball

Anthony Grant has been busy in his first couple of weeks as Alabama head basketball coach. He has been recruiting, he has been putting together a basketball staff, and he has been working with the Crimson Tide players he inherited.

There is a small window of time a coach can work with players out of season, and Grant has taken advantage of that to meet Alabama's returning players and to introduce them to some of the things that will be expected of them. It sounds somewhat familiar to football's fourth quarter program for off-season conditioning. "We want them to get a feel of what we expect from them," Grant said.

In a very brief meeting with Alabama basketball beat writers Thursday, Grant said that all of the returning players seem very enthusiastic about the future, as do all those who had signed with previous Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried (with the exception of Cully Payne, who has been released).

He said that he is working to put together a coaching staff, but declined to make any announcements saying that he preferred to wait until the staff was finalized and then make one announcement.

He also said in recruiting that he thinks the Tide needs to add a point guard. Alabama is among those in the mix for 6-0 point guard Eric Bledsoe of Birmingham Parker. He also said that Bama needs depth.

Grant was asked a question that included the notation he had "four returning starters" from last season. He said, "I don't know who our starters are," adding that starting positions will be earned in practice.

Grant was a little vague about his scheduling philosophy. Southeastern Conference basketball teams have been criticized for weak schedules and that showed in this year's NCAA basketball selections when only three SEC teams made the tournament. There have been suggestions for improving SEC schedules, including adding two more league games to the current 16-game schedule.

Grant said that some games were set for next year and that his philosophy was to schedule in a manner that would help his team prepare to win championships. He did promise that "our fans will be excited."

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