During the middle of the NFL Draft and Mother's Day Weekend, Alabama basketball landed a potentially huge transfer in 6'3 SG Christophe Varidel. Varidel spent last season playing with Division II Chaminade, but he was sidelined for the rest of the season after only 5 games. However, during that 5 game stretch to start off the season, Varidel showed what he does so well, and that is shoot the basketball. Varidel averaged 21.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG for the Silverswords, including a ridiculous outing against Baylor where he knocked down 10 three pointers on the way to a 42 point showing. He also shot 46% from three during that stretch. Before his brief tenure at Chaminade, Varidel spent three seasons playing for Dunk City itself, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. He was a part of the team that made the incredible run to the Sweet Sixteen as a 15-seed, including an 11 point game against San Diego State in the 2nd Round (I don't care what the NCAA calls it now). Varidel did work off of the bench for the Eagles, and will probably serve a similar role here, but the guy can shoot the basketball, and thus, he will be a huge addition for us. His career totals at FGCU include 8.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 1.0 APG. He shot 38.5% from three and 85.0% from the line while he was there as well.
Anthony Grant has had his critics to be sure, myself included. But give the guy credit for addressing his roster this offseason. Alabama will have a totally different looking team next year, with seven new faces being added to the roster. With that, Grant has addressed the issue of not having much depth last season, as Alabama will now be looking at a full roster this upcoming year, provided that there is no more unforeseen attrition. (As an aside, there is still room for a possible Nick Jacobs return, but I still haven't heard much on that front.) Grant has also addressed three key areas for the team with big transfers. First, Grant has addressed the departure of one of our all-time greats in Trevor Releford by bringing in a good, solid PG with a wealth of experience in Ricky Tarrant. Second, Grant brought in an offensive presence in the frontcourt, which Alabama has severely lacked since JaMychal Green's graduation two years ago, by bringing in Michael Kessens. Finally, Grant has now landed an extremely experienced SG who can knock down outside shots, which has been another issue for Alabama for many years. His experience with FGCU's run is something that Alabama could really use, and he's quite the character from what I have seen. During that time he could always be seen on the bench hyping up his teammates when he wasn't on the court with some pretty funny antics. That kind of enthusiasm would be a welcome injection into a team that, quite frankly, can be pretty stale at times. On top of those additions, Grant has a top 25 recruiting class coming in.
I know Crimson Tide fans are pretty sour on Bama Hoops right now, and they are justifiably so. But don't count this upcoming team out, they have the pieces to put something together. Grant has made all of the right moves so far this offseason (though it wouldn't kill the guy to bring in an offensive guru as an assistant), and next year's team is looking like it could finally have enough offensive weapons to match the defensive intensity that Grant's teams have always played with. If nothing else, actually having a full roster with a lot of experienced players will keep our team well-rested and battle-tested.