Avery Johnson Previews the 2017-2018 Opener [Audio]
As Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide has another run at an SEC title and College Football Playoff in their sights, Avery Johnson is about to embark on his third season as the head basketball coach in Tuscaloosa.
In his first two seasons, Johnson led the Crimson Tide to 18 wins in the 2015-2016 season and 19 wins in 2016-2017. Both of those teams qualified for the NIT.
This season, Alabama is picked to finish fourth in the SEC and possibly make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2011-2012 season.
Two days prior to tipping off the regular season, head coach Avery Johnson looked ahead to the upcoming game against Memphis on Inside the Locker Room.
Earlier this week, Alabama defeated UAH 74-65 in their lone exhibition game of the season. Transfer forward Daniel Giddens led the Crimson Tide 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Although the low post players shot just 4-14 from the line against UAH, Johnson emphasized free throw shooting and finishing inside as some of his keys for players like Giddens and Donta Hall.
“The main thing with our big guys is finishing inside and if they get fouled, being able to go to the free throw line and shoot a high percentage.” Johnson said.
From the perimeter, the Crimson Tide was 3-21 from the three point arc Monday night. Alabama’s head coach talked about his team’s shot selection from Monday night.
“In terms of shot selection, I would say 10 of the threes that we took weren’t quality threes and some of them just didn’t go in.” Johnson said. “We didn’t have the right guys shooting them at the right time, but those are some of the growing pains when you have some freshman on the floor.”
Johnson addressed the injuries, Collin Sexton’s eligibility status and how he plans to work around those issues.
“You just prepare, and plan and keep the morale of the team high.” Johnson said.
He also noted another key to overcoming injuries and players missing games.
“I think the main thing is also having quality depth to be able to survive in situations where maybe you have an injury or if a guy has to miss a game.” Johnson said.
Friday’s contest against Memphis marks the debut appearances for Alabama’s star studded freshman class. One of the freshman that could make an impact this season is Hale County High School alum Herb Jones. Coach Johnson outlined the Greensboro native’s profile and development over the off-season.
“He’s really developing. He still looks a little thin, but he’s gained 20 pounds since he’s arrived here on campus. He guards multiple positions. He can pass, dribble and shoot, high basketball IQ, A-plus student in all of his classes.” Johnson said.
Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the Tide 102.9 app.