Today was filled with news for members of the Alabama Men’s Basketball program, both present and past.
First, came news that former Tide head coach David Hobbs has landed a coaching gig on Steve Prohm’s staff at Iowa State. Prohm, an Alabama alum and former Crimson Tide player, had been connected to the Alabama job following the termination of Coach Anthony Grant. His resume at Murray State enticed the Cyclones, and Prohm took the job in Ames after the Tide hired Coach Avery Johnson. Working with Prohm’s staff, Hobbs will have a non-recruiting role designated as Special Assistant.
Coach Hobbs had the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of Alabama legend Wimp Sanders, and, for a time, it looked like a successful hire. Hobbs made the post-season his first four seasons, and coached nine all-SEC performers. He had two-20 win campaigns with NCAA appearances in 1994-1995, bookended by NIT appearances in 1993 and 1996; the latter included a trip to the NIT Final Four. In Hobbs’ last two seasons at Alabama, the Tide program had lost momentum, talent had dropped off markedly, and Alabama suffered several bad defeats — including a back-breaking 50-point loss to Auburn. David Hobbs resigned after the 1998 season, and the Tide rolled the dice on Alabama-alum Mike Gottfried (also from Murray State.)
For both Prohm and Hobbs, the opportunity to coach at a national power, in a basketball power conference, has to be the dream of a lifetime. Best of luck to both.
Later this afternoon, at 4:00 Central, the University of Alabama basketball program had a live unveiling of its 2016-2017 non-conference schedule.
The itinerary doesn’t have as many sexy games as last season, but that is owing to the exclusion of the Advocare Invitational, where Alabama faced Notre Dame, Wichita State and Xavier (beating all but Xavier.) Alabama does add a neutral-site tournament in Las Vegas, but it lacks the firepower of the Advocare: The Tide is guaranteed to face at least Valparaiso and then the winner of BYU/St. Louis.
Later, the Tide return a road trip to Oregon, while Dayton and Clemson come to Tuscaloosa on their return dates. The Tide have also added a road trip to Austin to face Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns.
This schedule is appreciably more manageable than last year’s, but that is a double-edged sword. It will mean Alabama’s margin for error is much slimmer too; the Tide will need to hold serve against Clemson, Arkansas State and other borderline postseason squads.
The opportunity is here to make some noise and get on the NCAA radar before the SEC season starts, particularly with the trips to Oregon and Texas. However, a bad start against a manageable, but not formidable, non-conference slate could bury the Tide’s tourney hopes just as quickly.