The Alabama men’s basketball team plays at Oregon for their final road game in their non-conference schedule.

The Crimson Tide enter game 4-3 and are still in search of a signature win this season.

Before heading out to the west coast, Alabama’s associate basketball coach Bob Simon stepped Inside the Locker Room to preview the game.

A player that is starting to emerge for the Crimson Tide is freshman Braxton Key. He leads the team scoring 10.4 points per game. Bob Simon discussed the first time that he and the coaching staff noticed Key’s potential.

“We probably didn’t realize that until really our season started. We always thought he was going to be pretty good.” Simon said.

Alabama’s associate basketball coach later elaborated on how he introduced Avery Johnson to Braxton Key and how the freshman landed in Tuscaloosa.

After mentioning Key's struggles in transitioning from high school to college, Simon described how Key’s ability to observe basketball at the collegiate level aided his development into a major contributor.

“He got an opportunity to sit the first few games, kind of get use to what the atmosphere was going to be like, allow the game to take place a little bit before he’d come in. Coach (Avery Johnson) did a good job of trying to move him into the starting lineup slowly but surely, but he had to prove himself as well. After he started getting out on the floor, you could see his confidence level change and he really just fit in nicely.” Simon said.

With the impact that young players like Braxton Key, Donta Hall and Dazon Ingram are having on the court, Simon emphasized the need for increased production and leadership from the upperclassmen.

“We need to continue to have upperclassman leadership from guys like Riley Norris, Jimmy Taylor, Shannon Hale, guys like that to help some of these younger guys along. We’re really counting on those guys to step it up, start playing a little bit better, showing a little bit more leadership.” Simon said.

Looking ahead to Oregon, Simon noted most of the roster returning for the Ducks, the talent on the team, Alabama’s near mass last season in Birmingham and the opportunity presented in tonight’s game.

Tipoff from Eugene, Oregon, is at 5 PM on ESPNU.

Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9 and the radioPup app.