Alabama Men’s Basketball Honors 2016-17 Team with Annual Postseason Banquet
The 2016-17 University of Alabama men's basketball team was honored at its annual awards banquet on Monday evening at the Bryant Conference Center. Nearly 500 fans packed the venue as the Crimson Tide student-athletes, staff and managers were recognized for their efforts on and off the court during the 2016-17 season.
Alabama finished the 2016-17 season with a final record of 19-15 overall and 10-8 in Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide reached the National Invitation Tournament for the second straight time under head coach Avery Johnson and for the 15th time in program history. Alabama's fifth-place finish in the SEC was a five-spot improvement from ending league play in 10th-place last season. The five spot jump in the standings was second only to Florida's six-spot improvement from last season. It was the Tide's best finish in the SEC since closing the 2012-13 season in fourth overall.
The 2017 SEC Tournament gave Alabama fans a glimpse of the excitement the future holds, as the Tide captured a pair of victories on its way to the first semifinal appearance in the event since 2013. The two games won in the league tournament marked the first time since the 2002 event that UA has won two games in the event.
The team was joined by members of the Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club and Tide Pride. Following dinner, Crimson Tide Sports Network play-by-play man Chris Stewart, who served as master of ceremonies on the evening, introduced UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne who addressed the crowd at the end of the night to thank them for their support.
Johnson then presented individual awards to members of the 2016-17 squad.
A pair of freshmen highlighted the honorees Monday evening. Freshman forward Braxton Key earned the Outstanding Freshman Award, while redshirt freshman guard Dazon Ingram was named Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year. The young duo led the Tide offensively throughout the 2016-17 campaign. Key averaged team highs of 12.0 points per game, 20 double-figure scoring games and 29.8 minutes a contest, while also ranking second in assists (2.5) and rebounds (5.7). Ingram, who was the only Crimson Tide player to start all 34 contests on the year, ranked second in scoring (10.6 ppg) and led the Tide in assists (3.3 apg), steals (0.9 spg) and 3-point shooting (.429).
Key (407 points) and Ingram (360 points) combined to score 767 points on the season – approximately 33 percent of the team's total output. Key scoring total ranks seventh for most points among UA freshmen in program history, while Ingram's total is 14th in the category. Moreover, the duo's combined total ranks as the third-best scoring output by freshmen teammates in program history, ranking only behind the 849 points by James "Hollywood" Robinson (554) and Latrell Sprewell (295) scored in 1990-91 season and the 827 scored by Reggie King (543) and Robert Scott (284) in 1976-77.
Graduate senior Bolan Olaniyan won the Outstanding Defensive Player Award, while Avery Johnson Jr. was named the Most Improved Player. Graduate senior Corban Collins was given the Coach Avery Award, given in recognition of attitude and effort throughout the course of the season. Jimmie Taylor, along with Collins and Olaniyan, also received special recognition as the team’s departing seniors.
Collins, Olaniyan, Key, Taylor, Daniel Giddens and Landon Fuller each took home a Student Academic Achievement Award, while Key, Brandon Austin and Lawson Schaffer each were named recipients of the Commitment to Service Award.