Fans get glimpse of men’s basketball team at Tide Tipoff


Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

The members of Alabama’s 2018 basketball team were announced to a warm welcome in Coleman Coliseum on Monday night as Crimson Tide fans received their first peak of coach Avery Johnson’s squad at Tide Tipoff.

After the women’s team scrimmaged, the men’s team took to the court for a 30-minute exhibition. Johnson divvied his roster into two sides, the crimson team and the white team. On the crimson side, Donta Hall, Dazon Ingram, Galin Smith, Riley Norris and Tevin Mack started. For the white team, Daniel Giddens, Alex Reese, Herb Jones, John Petty and Avery Johnson Jr started. Kira Lewis, a 17-year-old freshman, came in off the bench for the white team. Lawson Schaffer and freshman Javian Davis-Fleming saw minutes for the crimson unit.

Johnson interrupted scrimmage multiple times in the second half to walk fans through several offensive sequences. Once, Johnson stopped play and explained one of the Crimson Tide’s new offensive schemes, which focuses on getting the ball to the middle of the court, and specifically to the elbows of the free throw line. Johnson also emphasized that he wants Alabama to play “fast and furious” this season.

Once the exhibition concluded, several players participated in a dunk contest of sorts.

Other Observations and Notes

Lewis, wearing No. 2 as Collin Sexton did last season, was active during the scrimmage. Johnson asserted that Lewis’ situation is much different from Sexton’s, saying that Lewis “doesn’t have to be an air-craft carrier for us.” He also said that Lewis has a “long way to go,” but showed flashes.

Giddens looked comfortable on the court, even displaying the confidence to take, and make, a fadeaway jumper from just inside the three-point line.

“Giddens has had a tremendous offseason,” Johnson said. “His body is . . . he’s in tip-top shape. His body looks good, he feels good.”

Even though Tevin Mack has had to sit out for over a year after transferring from Texas, Johnson had high praise for his performance in the exhibition.

“We need his (Mack’s) scoring ability,” Johnson said. “You saw it during stretches. He can knock down a three, he can get the ball to the basket, he has a good body.”

With four starters and multiple contributors returning, one of the strengths of Alabama’s team will be its depth. Johnson said he was not ready to commit to an 8-man rotation just yet, mentioning that it might end up being a 10-man rotation.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts attended the event and participated in a shooting competition with several fans at halftime of the scrimmage.