Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Grant: Year Two

Fast-paced defenses, highly-executed offenses, every man doing their job: these are some of the things Alabama fans have come to expect. In football.

However, with the hiring of head basketball coach Anthony Grant before last season, the Tide hopes to make such qualities an expectation on the court in his second season at the helm.

“Overall, the focus is there,” Grant said. “The intensity is there. We just have to continue to get better in terms of executing offensively and understanding defensively what it take to play in this style of play.”

Grant’s style is noted for its fast and aggressive nature. It leads to some exciting games for fans to watch

“With the style of play it creates a lot of excitement,” sophomore forward Tony Mitchell said. “It is very up tempo, it’s up and down, being able to press, being aggressive on offense and on defense.”

Due to the Tide’s high-energy playing style and the improvement under Grant, Alabama is drawing more fans to games. Mitchell said when energized, the crowd can make a big difference in games.

“We just try to get more people to come to the games so we can feed on them and their energy,” Mitchell said. “It will keep us in some games just playing in front of a bunch of people helps us out a whole lot.”

However, playing in a system with such a high tempo is quite challenging and is something the Tide must improve on from last season.

“This preseason, I’ve seen more of a consistent effort and understanding in terms of the expectations that myself and our staff have in terms of how we want the game played,” Grant said.

The system can be especially tough on freshmen who have never been a part of such a complex scheme.

“It’s an adjustment,” Grant said. “For a lot of our guys, it’s a different way than they have had to defend before. It’s a different level of intensity.”

Grant said he will look to his returning players from last year to be leaders on the team and contribute greatly to the team’s success.

“Our success this year will be based on the improvement from the guys returning on our team,” Grant said.

Any time a team gets a new coach, a transitional period can be expected. Players need to learn the system, what the coach wants out of them and to become comfortable enough to execute during games.

Last year was a pivotal year for the Tide, as it got the returning players used to how Grant runs the team. Junior forward JaMychal Green said the players have become comfortable with their new coach.

“He’s not as quiet as last year; he knows us more,” Green said. “Everybody was more quiet, and when Coach Grant is quiet, he’s got that mean look so you don’t know if he’s happy or mad. So, we try our best to make him smile, and once you see him smile you know it’ll be a good day in practice. He has a better feel for us, and we’ve all gotten to know each other, so we’re closer as a team, and the coaching staff is closer to us.”

One thing the Tide will have in its favor is depth. Last season, Alabama was short on scholarship players and was often winded at the end of games, something that might have handed the Tide a few losses.

“Our style of play is based on depth, and our strength will hopefully be in our numbers,” Grant said. “I think that last year we had a nine-man rotation. The way we play and the way we want to play the game, it makes it difficult.”

Grant said the team is focused on not only adding depth, but quality depth. Grant said he hopes the added depth will provide the team with a better chance at success.

“We probably had some games last year where we didn’t finish the way we needed to because of that,” Grant said. “Hopefully this year we will have more quality depth.”

Though the team added more depth, the Tide lost a big part of last season’s team in point guard Mikhail Torrance. Despite losing the key player, Grant remains confident that others will contribute in place of Torrance.

“Any time you have to play young guys or inexperienced guys at [the point guard] position is so critical,” Grant said. “It’s definitely a concern. I am confident that the guys we have will do a good job and be ready to play.”

Alabama will face many obstacles this year, but Grant said if the team competes to the best of its ability, the Tide should experience success.

“Every year brings different challenges,” Grant said. “For us right now, it’s just about trying to control what we can control: how hard we practice, the attitude that we bring everyday and do the things that will ultimately lead to us being successful.”

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