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Avery Johnson's Brief Recruiting Window for Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball

Just over one week until Hoops NSD and a few chances to improve this team.

Coach Avery, you are on the clock.
Coach Avery, you are on the clock.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It is a bit of a mystery to figure out what kind of team Avery Johnson will build in his first year at the Capstone. Although NBA coaches have some input, they often get whoever the GM acquires and what their team can afford. In college ball, the coach is the GM. He can choose who he would like to offer, though he doesn't always get them.

With basketball National Signing Day (April 15) bearing down on Johnson like an Indiana Jones boulder, he will have to do a lot of work in a short time. Outgoing coach Anthony Grant did not leave him too many prospects to work with.


# Name Pos Ht./Wt. Rising Year Hometown (Last School) Comments
2 Ricky Tarrant Guard 6-2/190 SR Pleasant Grove, Ala. (Tulane) Looked to be on his way to an All-SEC year until leg injuries halted his season.
11 Shannon Hale Forward 6-8/226 JR Johnson City, Tenn. (Christ School) Former SEC All-Freshman went through a January swoon before picking up his play in February but a recurring foot injury ended his season.
32 Retin Obasohan Guard 6-1/208 RS SR Antwerp, Belgium (K.A. Redingenhof) Showed some explosiveness; scored double-digits in eleven of last twelve games.
1 Riley Norris Guard/Fwd 6-7/207 SO Albertville, Ala. (Albertville) The numbers defy the value he brings to the team. Hustle and heart.
10 Jimmie Taylor Forward 6-10/240 JR Greensboro, Ala. (Greensboro) The biggest guy on the team needs some proper coaching on being a big guy.
3 Michael Kessens Forward 6-9/223 JR Nyon, Switzerland (Longwood University) Another big man, started the season strong but saw his minutes shrink; needs to find his role.
5 Justin Coleman Guard 5-10/160 SO Birmingham, Ala. (Wenonah) Showed some brilliant flashes but needs court discipline; shot 25.9%.
23 Devin Mitchell Guard 6-4/182 SO Suwanee, Ga. (Collins Hill) Played in 14 games, scored 9 points.
4 Jeff Garrett Forward 6-7/206 RS FR Gadsden, Ala. (Oldsmar Christian School) Redshirted 2014-15.
41 John Gibson Forward 6-7/220 SO Marietta, Ga. (Xavier (La.) University) Transferred in as a walk-on, played 5 minutes in 3 games in 2014-15.


Two young men have already signed in the early signing period.

  • Brandon Austin (6-5/180) 3-star small forward from Montgomery, Alabama (Carver) - averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and 1.5 blocks per game while leading the Wolverines to the Class 6A state championship.
  • Donta' Hall (6-8/225) 3-star power forward from Luverne, Alabama - averaged 23 points per game, 19 rebounds per game, 12 blocks per game as a senior.


College basketball allows 13 scholarships per team. Assuming Gibson will retain his walk-on status unless there is a scholarship available, the Crimson Tide can sign up to two three additional players.

Dazon Ingram (6-5/183), 3-star shooting guard from Theodore, AL, decommited from Alabama following Grant's dismissal but could return to the fold. Ingram averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in leading the Bobcats to the state semifinals this year for the first time in school history. He was recruited by Antoine Pettway.

Junior college. The following juco players are uncommitted and have shown interest in Alabama. There is no accurate rating system for them.

  • Alex Hicks (6-8/205) forward Walters State CC (Morristown, Tennessee) – originally from Seale, AL; 15.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG
  • Niem Stevenson (6-4/185) shooting guard Seward County C.C. (Liberal, Kansas) – originally from Brandon, FL; Third Team JC All-American as a frosh; sat out last season with injury.

There are a few high schoolers out there who have shown interest in Bama but most are not highly rated.

  • Brandon Sampson (6-4/175) 4-star shooting guard From Baton Rouge. He likely goes to LSU but has Bama on his list.
  • Tommy Burton (6-8/195) low 3-star small forward from Lee HS in Montgomery, AL. 16.4 PPG.
  • Joseph "JoJo" Anderson (6-2/165) low 3-star point guard from Houston, TX. Possible Texas connection?
  • Nych Smith (5-10/170) low 3-star point guard from Memphis, Tenn. Reported wingspan of 6-2.

Wild Card. Does Coach Johnson have any tricks up his sleeve? He has some familiarity with the Texas AAU scene and the recruiting game. His son, Avery Johnson Jr., just finished his freshman season for Texas A&M. Additionally, Johnson Sr. helped influence 4/5-star Tyler Davis and 4-star D.J. Hogg (HS teammates of AJ Jr.) to sign with the Aggies.

This is fantastical pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking but the nation's second rated player Jaylen Brown (6-7/220) is still uncommitted and has Bama on his lengthy list. The 5-star small forward is from Alpharetta, GA (Wheeler High School).

Since we are getting all crazy here, fellow uncommitted 5-star Malik Newman (6-3/174) hails from nearby Jackson, MS (Callaway). The nation's No. 1 point guard averaged 29.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as a senior.

Sadly, both of these kids will probably end up in Lexington. But we can hope, right?

Go the Anthony Grant route and do not sign your full allotment. Ugh.


UPDATE: Avery Johnson retains assistant Antoine Pettway.

UPDATE #2: Johnson is tentatively set to visit with former Tide commit Dazon Ingram on Thursday, the first allowable day per recruiting rules.

UPDATE #3: As of now, Ricky Tarrant intends to transfer (again).