With most of the 2010 basketball signing class already on campus preparing for the upcoming season, Tide coach Anthony Grant is focusing this summer on recruiting for the 2011 class, most of whom will sign in November's early period, just over three months away.
Grant started things off with a bang just days after the signing deadline for the 2010 class in May, when two of the hottest recruits in the state committed to be a part of the crucial 2011 signing class for the Tide. Both Levi Randolph, a 6-6 guard from Bob Jones High School in the Huntsville area, and Rodney Cooper, a 6-5 guard from Russell County High School in Phenix City, are considered eilte 4-star prospects and are expected to have an immediate impact in the SEC given their size and skills. Randolph in particular has received rave reviews and is considered by many to be the state's best prospect since NBA lottery pick DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with Kentucky.
Both Randolph and Cooper are featured in this video from TideSports competing in a recent AAU tournament as teammates.
Alabama will have a minimum of four scholarships to give for this class, and Grant has been busy this summer hitting the recruiting trails working to finish what is shaping up to be a very strong class. Within the state of Alabama, the biggest target is Trevor Lacey, a 6-3 guard out of Butler High School in Huntsville. Lacey is also rated as a high 4-star prospect and top-40 player nationally, and Grant will be in competition with John Calipari of Kentucky among others for his signature in November. Another in-state product with an offer from Grant is 6-10 center Willy Kouassi from Central Park High School in Birmingham. Kouassi, a native of Cote d'Ivoire, is the fourth in-state player (along with Randolph, Cooper, and Lacey) ranked in the Rivals 150. His coach, Darien Knox, is the uncle of former Tide forward , who recently left the program to transfer to North Carolina.
With two guards already committed, and a need for this team in the post, big men will be a major priority for the coaching staff. In addition to Kouassi, Grant is targeting a wide array of out-of-state 4-star post talent. Bama has offered, and is getting interest from: 6-8 Angelo Chol out of San Diego, 6-9 Nick Jacobs of Atlanta, 6-7 Julian Royal of Alpharetta, Georgia, 6-7 Rodney Hood of Meridian, Mississippi, and 6-9 Johnny O'Bryant of Cleveland, Mississippi. Grant is also targeting Kedren Johnson, a 6-4 guard from the same high school in Lewisberg, Tennessee that produced Dont'a Hightower.
While there are only two definite scholarships available to give, don't be surprised to see the coaching staff look to sign as many as five players. Transfers, as we know, are all too common these days, not to mention the possibility of a player leaving early for the NBA draft. There is simply too much talent available for Bama in this class not to take as many players as they think will fit once classes begin in August of 2011.
With that said, I expect Grant to try and sign two of the big men listed above and one of Lacey and Johnson if he can get them. If he does so, this could go down as one of the best signing classes in program history.