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Recruiting News: Basketball NSD for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Comings and goings round out the roster for 2018-19

Avery Johnson with Jared Butler.

While not quite as hyped as football National Signing Day(s), basketball has their version of NSD today. Hoops long ago set an Early Signing Period and most players sign during that time. This academic year, the ESP was November 8-15, 2017 with the Crimson Tide signing three. Today’s NSD is mostly reserved for a few higher end elite and fringe players who might be hoping for a better offer. This period lasts through May 16, 2018 but it is rare that many signees will linger more than a day or two.


While this class won’t match last year’s 8th ranked recruiting class, Coach Avery Johnson has added some solid pieces.

Jared Butler G Reserve, LA 6’2” 175 4-stars @J_Hooper11 - Clearly, the best newcomer to get excited about is this point guard. With Collin Sexton on his way to NBA riches, Butler will have a chance to immediately step into his role.

247Sports composite ranks him as the 89th best player in the nation and #15 point guard.

He was also a big part of his high school football team’s 2016 State Championship catching four passes for 48 yards in the title game. He also played some quarterback and cornerback.

Butler chose the Bama over Virginia, Baylor and Texas.

Diante Wood SG Anniston, AL 6’5” 185 3-stars @1k_youngtrill - Wood led the Sacred Heart Cardinals to their fourth straight 1A state title after finishing the state championship game with 22 points and six rebounds. On Tuesday, he was named Class 1A player of the year for the third straight season.

247 Comp has him as the nation’s #45 shooting guard and #200 overall player. He is the top-rated player in the fine state of Alabama. He chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn and to a lesser extent Wichita State, USF and Colorado State..

Javian Fleming C Canton, MS 6’9” 230 3-stars @Jay0__ – This big-body banger has a hard-nosed style of play that will serve him well in the SEC.

Fleming is a strong center that can slide between either frontcourt position and produce accordingly. He has developed more of his face-up game within recent months all while remaining a force on the glass and finishing through contact near the low post.

He is 247 Comp’s #197 player and 14th best center. He picked Alabama over Georgetown after previously eliminating Clemson, Florida Gulf Coast, Iowa State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and TCU.


The good news is Alabama returns almost every contributing player plus redshirt transfer Tevin Mack (Texas). The bad news is that there is no room for signing anyone else at this juncture.

So far, Alabama has said farewell to Collin Sexton (NBA) and Ar’Mond Davis (grad-transfer). Riley Norris has announced he will come back for one more season after taking a medical redshirt this past season. Will there be more departures?


There is a chance that one or more Tide players will decide to test the NBA waters or try their luck overseas. Braxton Key declared for the NBA Draft last year but was able to withdraw his name and return to school. Donta Hall caught the attention of many onlookers for his play this past season. And then there is John Petty who was the #33 high school player a year ago and was considered a possible one-and-done before the season began. It would not behoove any of these young men to declare for this year’s draft but you never know what goes on inside their heads (RAT POISON!). The early entry deadline is April 22 at 11:59pm ET - which is not good timing for college coaches trying to fill their rosters. Those who declare and do not hire an agent can withdraw by June 11 at 5pm ET. The draft follows ten days later.


Another potential piece of attrition is the ever-growing trend of transferring or grad-transferring. This life choice occurs at an oddly high rate in bouncey-balls. Why anyone would choose to transfer and NOT play in a game for 20 months is beyond me. Two of the three players mentioned in the paragraph above strike me as players who have not seen things go as wonderfully as they expected. You have to wonder if the frustration gets to them and they think pastures will be greener somewhere else.


Since today is GUMP Day, let’s assume that all of the above mentioned Tide players return. That would mean eleven returning scholarship players plus three new signees for a total of 14. Division 1 teams are allowed 13 scholarships per team. Basketball is a headcount sport, meaning there are no sharing of scholarships. The likely scenario is that Avery Johnson Jr. is not on scholarship. No other prospect appears to be on Alabama’s radar, so the 2018-19 roster is likely set.

Name Pos. Year
Riley Norris Guard/Forward Sr.
Donta Hall Forward Sr.
Avery Johnson Jr. Guard Sr.
Daniel Giddens Forward/Center Jr.
Dazon Ingram Guard Jr.
Braxton Key Forward Jr.
Tevin Mack Guard/Forward Jr.
Alex Reese Forward So.
Herbert Jones Guard So.
John Petty Guard So.
Galin Smith Forward So.
Jared Butler Guard Fr.
Diante Wood Guard Fr.
Javian Fleming Center Fr.

* Senior guard Lawson Schaffer is not on scholarship.


LSU has to be working up some serious VooDoo spells because coach Will Wade has infected the minds of two 5-stars and two 4-stars. The nation’s #18 Nazreon Reid has signed with the Tigers and #24 Emmitt Williams is expected to sign today. They also add the 30th and 54th ranked players.

Despite a dumpster fire season, Vanderbilt has managed to convince two 5-stars of their own to sign: #10 Simisola Shittu and #14 Darius Garland. They also added #64.

Ben Howland has lassoed a 5-star of his own for Mississippi State. #20 Reggie Perry joins two 4-stars in this class.


While 2018 does not look like a blockbuster year for the Crimson Tide, 2019 is starting to look like a possible bonanza. Although they have no commitments as of yet, Alabama looks strong with 5-star Mountain Brook strong forward Trendon Watford who was named Alabama’s Mr. Basketball on Tuesday as a junior. He is currently the nation’s #9 player for 2019. The Tide also look like the favorite for 4-star point guard Kira Lewis from Hazel Green, AL and 4-star strong forward Kobe Brown out of Huntsville, AL.


Let’s not be ridiculous. This team would certainly be better with Sexton coming back. The Tide could have a great season in this next campaign but they’d surely be even better with him on the roster. Since he is not, what are your realistic expectations for this team?


Expectations for 2018-19?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Elite 8 or higher.
    (44 votes)
  • 39%
    Sweet 16.
    (374 votes)
  • 40%
    First round win, 2nd round loss.
    (387 votes)
  • 10%
    First round loss.
    (100 votes)
  • 5%
    NIT (yes, we allow trolls to vote too)
    (48 votes)
953 votes total Vote Now