BASKETBALL: Alonzo Gee

Alabama big man Richard Hendrix may be the face of the team, but the Crimson Tide has another outstanding scoring threat in junior Alonzo Gee.

The 6-foot-6 Gee is a guard, but plays much bigger than his size. In fact, Alabama coach Mark Gottfried often slides Gee into the power forward spot in a four-guard lineup and the Riviera Beach, Fla., native holds his own.

Gee is second on the team in scoring (15.6 points) and rebounding (7.3) behind Hendrix. Those numbers also rank 11th and eighth, respectively, in the Southeastern Conference. He led Alabama with 18 points in its last game — an 88-76 loss to Auburn — and his play has been one of the bright spots for the Crimson Tide in an otherwise frustrating season.

"I think Alonzo has had a good year," Gottfried said. "I don't think he's shot the ball well lately. He's struggling a bit there, but he's done a lot of other things well."

Strengths

Gee does a good job of putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket, which is a critical skill in a rugged league like the Southeastern Conference. He has the size, quickness and athleticism to cause headaches for opponents and always seems to find ways to get points whether it's in the post, from the perimeter or at the foul line.

Gee proved it in the Crimson Tide's 71-67 overtime loss at Arkansas earlier this season. He was 4-for-16 from the floor, but still managed to score 15 points. He knocked down two 3-pointers, got five points from the foul line and was a key part of Alabama's late-game comeback, which forced overtime in a game the Tide eventually lost.

Weaknesses

As Gottfried said, Gee has been going through some struggles with his shot lately and it has hampered his ability to string together enormous offensive outings. The proof is in his field goal percentage in SEC play (39.5).

One of Gee's worst performances came in the 62-52 loss to Kentucky earlier this month. The guard was 1-for-9 from the floor and finished with five points.

Gee, like the rest of the Crimson Tide, has experienced some struggles at the free-throw line. He is second on the team in free throws attempted (123) and is making 67.5 percent. It's not as bad as Hendrix (53 percent), but any missed opportunities have been costly for Alabama.

How to Play Him

Plenty of Razorbacks will get a crack at guarding Gee because he plays so many positions. Forward Sonny Weems will get most of the responsibilities in one-on-one situations, but Gee also can be a handful for power forwards Charles Thomas and Michael Washington.

The top priority is taking away Gee's ability to drive to the bucket. He has been struggling from the floor, so forcing him to make jump shots is likely the best plan.

"It's going to be hard because they've been playing him a lot at the power forward spot," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "They're a different basketball team when they do that. They have four 3-point shooters out there and a big-time driver at the power forward spot."

The Skinny

Gee is capable of taking over a game at any point, as evidence by his career-high, 32 points in a hard-fought, 90-83 loss at Florida earlier this season. It just hasn't been as obvious lately because of his shooting struggles.

But the junior has shown steady improvement throughout each of his three seasons in Tuscaloosa and remains one of three players — joining Hendrix and senior guard Mykal Riley (14.3 points a game) — that will carry the burden of the Alabama offense against the Razorbacks tonight.

Hendrix is the force down in the post and Riley is the 3-point threat. Gee is a little bit of both, who will do much of his damage off the bounce if Arkansas allows it.

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