Avery Johnson Hints That Alabama Basketball Could Have a Lottery Pick on Roster Now
Avery Johnson would never be accused of holding back when it comes to his vision of the Alabama men's basketball program. As soon as he stepped on campus, he explained that he took this first college head coaching job because Alabama can be a Final Four basketball program.
For a school that's never advanced that deep in an NCAA Tournament, that's a lofty expectation to set on day one.
The first year brought a lot of hope and excitement when a team picked 13th out of 14 in the SEC won five straight in February and appeared to be on the verge of breaking a tournament drought. The Crimson Tide eventually ran out of steam and accepted an NIT bid instead, but Johnson showed that things were ahead of schedule.
But we might have underestimated how far along the program might actually be.
During a quick media appearance at the Regions Tradition Pro-Am on Wednesday, the head coach was asked whether he could see his program producing a lottery pick (top 14) in the NBA Draft. Now, keep in mind that Alabama basketball, which began more than 100 years ago, has produced just five lottery picks in its history. Not only did he answer yes, but he added this.
"We may have one on our team now that you just haven't seen play enough," Johnson said.
The Crimson Tide's last NBA Draft selection was Richard Hendrix in 2008, but you'd have to go back to 1995 to find Alabama's last lottery pick. The Los Angeles Clippers took Antonio McDyess second overall in 1995. The four other lottery picks from Alabama were Robert Horry (1992), Derrick McKey (1987), Ennis Whatley (1983), and Leon Douglas (1976).
You can listen to Johnson's full answer in the video above.