News broke today that sophomore SF Braxton Key has received a release from his NLI and intends to transfer.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” Key said. “I’ve enjoyed my two seasons at the University of Alabama. I want to thank the coaches, support staff and my teammates for helping me get better each and every day. I especially would like to thank all the fans for their support over the past two years.”
Key met with Coach Avery Johnson to discuss his future and ultimately decided to pursue it elsewhere. Per NCAA rules, he will be required to sit out for one season, after which he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
There could be any number of reasons including a desire to play closer to his Charlotte home, but one has to wonder if the roster and the role he has played in Tuscaloosa had some bearing on the decision. Braxton is listed at 6’8”, 225 lbs. and plays more like a wing than a stretch four, but he doesn’t quite have the scoring ability of John Petty or Tevin Mack, and doesn’t handle the ball as well as Herb Jones or Dazon Ingram. On this team he ends up playing the four by default, and that may well have been a factor. Ballhandling and outside shooting are the areas in which he needs the most improvement to play in the NBA, and it’s tough to improve on those while playing in the frontcourt.
For the Tide, this likely means more playing time for Alex Reese and Galin Smith next season, which will be a more traditional frontcourt in terms of skill set. They will lose some flexibility as there probably isn’t another ‘tweener type on the roster at this point, but there should be adequate depth at all positions. In any event, we appreciate Braxton’s efforts in crimson and hope he is able to find success.