15 October 2008
Mark Gottfried hosted his first press conference of the 2008-2009 campaign today. Practice begins on Thursday, so Gottfried took questions this afternoon. It may seem early, but the Tide tips in an exhibition against Faulkner on November 6.
is healthy. Gottfried says that Steele would report he was at 100%. Gottfried hopes we can get away from playing Steele 40 minutes a game, but that'll be more by feel. That should be all we need to write here, really.
But, we'll keep going.
Practices will be closed this year to prevent distractions. Gottfried said there was too much going on in the gym last season.
Gottfried is excited about this team and their athletic ability. It seems like we say this every season, but this year's team will run. Hendrix has been an impediment to that in the recent past, but he is in the NBA now.
Lots of physical players and lots of potential - to go along with senior leadership. Steele is the very rare fifth year senior who has talent. You just don't see that in college basketball these days. That should be a difference maker for the Tide.
Gottfried believes that Alabama can compete for the SEC West, which is pretty much wide open (as reported by Crump earlier this week). He gave special kudos to LSU in the west, noting their experience. But, this conference is deep - "everybody in this conference does a good job coaching and recruiting their team".
Most of our team was in Tuscaloosa all summer long, and the coach was especially pleased with the work that they did. Terry Jones, Sr. is the strength and conditioning coach for the Tide, and the players worked with him since the end of last season.
Freshman sensation JaMychal Green
will have to "earn it - like every freshman does. We expect ". He won't be asked to replace Richard Hendrix (which is good - no one could expect to do that as a freshman). Gottfried said that there would be a rotation with Yamene Coleman
, Demetrius Jemison
and Justin Knox.
It'll take all these guys and more to step up to fill the Hendrix void.
has worked hard this summer, putting on muscle and working on his shot. Gottfried wants Gee to continue work on his defense and he thinks Gee could be the best defender in the conference, if not the country.
- who Gottfried calls "a 6'1" Gerald Wallace" and a "human highlight film" - had a great offseason. He has a greater understanding of his role in the offense, and his confidence is high. Gottfried predicts a "really, really terrific year" for Hillman.
will play the one, two and three spots this season. At 6'5", he's got the size to play small forward, and the ball handling skills for point guard. Hopefully he's improved his shot in the offseason.
Freshman Anthony Brock
is "small, but has some moxie." Gottfried noted that he could move over and play some point and let Steele play some at shooting guard.
There are no redshirts expected at this point. There are eleven scholarship players and Greg Cage
as a walk-on.
When asked about Tony Mitchell
and the possibility of him enrolling in December, Gottfried noted that NCAA rules permitted him from discussing his status - except to say he was recruiting him.
This year, the Tide will feature two exhibition games in an effort to get the younger players in the game and get some exposure. In addition to the Faulkner game, the Tide faces Bellhaven on November 13.
The exhibitions will also allow us to take a look at the new three point line - moved from 19'9" to 20'9". Gottfried noted that it could change the game fundamentally. He also said he voted in favor of the change, saying his 13 year old son could knock it down from there, and therefore it needed to be moved back.
After the two exhibitions, the Tide warms up against Mercer and Florida A&M on the 16th and the 19th of November respectively. The Tide then heads to the EA Sports Maui Invitational, opening with Oregon. The winner of that game gets the winner of host Chaminade and North Carolina. The other bracket features Texas, St. Joseph's, Notre Dame and Indiana.