Two years ago when the Crimson Tide were charging towards their first regular season SEC title two decades, the best player on the floor for the stretch run was Jahvon Quinerly.
In ‘Bama’s final 10 games that season, Q shot 38.5% or better from the perimeter in nine of them, and he was at or above 50% in six of those contests. He only had one “bad game” — where he shot 30%. He doubled his rebounding totals, added 2.4 more assists per contest, had 2 or fewer fouls in nine games, and cut down his turnovers by 1.3 per tilt. Along the way, he scored in double digits nine times — and went at or above 20 in half of them, including going off for 37, 34 and 46.
This year, Q has returned to that form. He’s been stellar at times, in fact. And not just the last two games. How efficient? He’s the Tide’s second-best offensive producer relative to minutes played and SEC competition.
Brandon Miller and Nick Pringle may be more efficient scorers, and Miller may be the best all-around player on the team. But No. 2? That’s Q. In fact, he’s rated as the 29th most efficient bench player in the nation — and for my money, the best Sixth Man in the SEC.
Without Q’s indomitable will to win, his passing ability, cagey veteran moves to draw fouls and get to the line, and clutch shooting down the stretch, Alabama is riding a two-game losing streak, and is playing Aggie for a share of the SEC on Saturday.
Reflect on that journey too. He was a former 5-star from Villanova, and one of the most heralded PGs in the country when he signed with Jay Wright. He left that program, came to Alabama as the centerpiece of Nate Oats’ first class and was expected to be it. And, in some fairness, he was. What he lacked in defense, he made up for with scoring and ability to distribute. But he frequently found himself in the doghouse for lack of defensive effort — and allegedly one bout with a bad attitude. Then the Coronavirus. Then the devastating knee injury.
He was not getting quite Wally Pipp’d but he was losing ground. And he reinvented himself as Q did eventually buy-in. He started committing himself to defense. He became a veteran leader in the locker room. He made the most of his opportunities on the floor. He accepted his role as bench player.
“These fans have been great since we’ve got here. I was really happy we were able to win this thing outright, do the celebration in Coleman. Winning it two years ago was great, but you’re on the road in a COVID environment at Mississippi State. Tonight was special. And we talked about it before the game. At the under-8 timeout, we needed to play a little harder. I said, ‘We’re not losing this game because we didn’t play hard enough to win it,’ and our guys came out and played harder. So it was special to do it here at Coleman.”
“I can’t be more proud of JQ. I told him, I told the team, we’re getting the March version of JQ. He’s definitely the X-factor. He’s played great for us, particularly in the second half, the last two games. He’s obviously really talented. You look at his line tonight, he ends up with 24 points, six assists, not one turnover, led the team +/- at +16, really getting locked in on the defensive end. He knows how to win, and he’s making a lot of winning plays on both sides of the ball for us.”
And he is the reason the Crimson Tide have won their last two contests.
Jahvon Quinerly vs. Auburn—— Mathey Gibson (@Mathey_Gibson1) March 2, 2023
7-12 FG (2-5 3pt)
Game of his life to secure an SEC championship. pic.twitter.com/74aGGU1VGl
Take a bow, Jelly.
Your statsheet doesn’t blow anyone away. But people who know what’s going on, realize just how good you’ve been this season with what you’ve been asked to do — and especially down the stretch, as other contributors in the backcourt have struggled.
And you’re a champion.
JQ cuts down the net after a huge night in helping Alabama beat Auburn in OT pic.twitter.com/xG2b9imJfA— Nick Kelly (@_NickKelly) March 2, 2023
NOW, for the fun part. We’re going to bag on Bruce Pearl and whiny Auburn. SOOOO much assmad:
Oh you wanted the video of Bruce losing it after blowing the game combined with the audio from the Auburn broadcast? I gotchu pic.twitter.com/BFoPZHt77T— Britton Johnson Burner (@NotBJohnson21) March 2, 2023
So, at the end of the day...
Ramer Jammer is always sweet after beating Auburn, but it’s sweeter after beating Auburn and winning the SEC Championship pic.twitter.com/fK4wmIKrFY— Ryan C. Fowler (@RyanCFowler) March 2, 2023
Which is better:
This poll is closed
To blow Auburn out in Coleman Coliseum, and have Nate Oats shit-talk Bruce Pearl?
Dramatically come from behind, down by 17 late, and crush Auburn’s spirits as they get sent to the NIT?
Stop! If this lasts longer than four hours, I have to contact my physician.