Alabama Men’s Basketball Inks Another Impressive Signing Class
Alabama men’s basketball head coach Avery Johnson officially announced the Tide’s 2018 signing class on Monday, as the Crimson Tide inked three players, who are all ranked among the top prospects in the nation.
The three newest members of the Alabama men’s basketball program includes guards Jared Butler (Reserve, La./Riverside Academy) and Diante Wood (Anniston, Ala./Sacred Heart Catholic HS), along with center Javian Fleming (Canton, Miss./Canton HS). All three are four star prospects and each is expected to make an impact for the Tide next season.
“We are so honored to have all three of these student-athletes join the Crimson Tide family,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “It has been a pleasure to get to know them and their families throughout the recruiting process. All three of these young men have strong character, great competitive spirit and are extremely coachable. They are going to be great assets to our Tuscaloosa community.
“Our staff has been on the same page in terms of our future needs when it comes to a specific skill set in order to compete in the SEC and on a national level. This class may not be ranked as high or get the recognition that our 2017 signing class received, but we certainly feel this group will make a similar type of impact and will be major contributors for our program.”
Butler, a 6-2, 185-pound point guard, is a consensus four start recruit who is ranked as the No. 75 overall player in the class of 2018, the No. 13-ranked point guard and the top point guard in the state of Louisiana, according to Scout.com. As a junior under head coach Timmy Bird at Riverside Academy, Butler averaged 20.4 points and 6.7 assists per game in leading the Rebels to the Division III select semifinals. He was named as a 2A first team all-state point guard by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association in 2017 and also was tabbed a two-time All-Metro team honoree by the Times-Picayune in 2016 and 2017. Butler played for the Mississippi Express in the Nike EYBL where he averaged 13.6 points, 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds a game in 16 contests. He signed with Alabama after receiving offers from the likes of Texas, Virginia, Baylor, USC and Wichita State, among others.
“We had Jared ranked as one of the top players on our board at the point guard position,” Johnson said. “We feel he is someone who is going to have the ability to come in and make a big impact on both ends of the floor from day one. He has great leadership skills, is a very smart player and we feel he has a very high ceiling. He comes from a great family with his mother Juanea and father Richard, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome them to the Alabama basketball family.”
Fleming, who played at Canton High school under head coach Russell Evans, is a four-star recruit who is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state and the No. 17 center in the country, according to ESPN.com. The 6-9, 230-pound power forward averaged 16.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2.7 blocks as a junior, while collecting 14.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game as a sophomore. Fleming, who was named to the Clarion Ledger’s Dandy Dozen this past season, was selected to play in the 2017 Mississippi North/South All-Star game where he was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player with 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Followed the campaign, he was selected to attend the prestigious NBPA Top-100 camp which took place this past summer. Fleming chose Alabama after receiving offers from Cincinnati, Georgetown, Iowa State and Texas A&M, among others.
“Javian is a good-looking power forward who can face up or play with his back to the basket,” Johnson said. “He has very quick feet for a big man and possesses the ability to shoot. He will be able to defend multiple positions, which is a great asset to have on any team. We would like to welcome his mother, Kajwana, and his brother, Jamarion, as a part of our family.”
Wood is four-star prospect according to ESPN.com, which lists him as the top-ranked prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 32 overall player in the region. Playing under head coach Ralpheal Graves at Sacred Heart, the 6-4, 175-pount shooting guard helped lead his squad to three consecutive 1A state titles, becoming just the ninth program in AHSAA history to win three consecutive championships. For his efforts, Wood was named the Class 1A Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017, while also earning the Most Valuable Player award at the state tournament in each of the past two seasons. As a junior, Wood averaged 18.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Wood signs with Alabama after receiving offers from Iowa State, Wichita State, Auburn and Arkansas, among others.
“Diante is a wing who is a great defender and can defend multiple positions,” Johnson said. “He is a terrifc slasher to the basket and has really improved his jump shot. He’s a winner and has led his team to multiple state championships, something we hope will continue with him at the University of Alabama. We are thrilled to welcome him and his parents, Chris and Alina Wood, to our family.”