Can Gottfried turn the Tide?

Mark Gottfried is “excited” about next season’s Tide basketball team, but what do Alabama’s most knowledgable fans say about Bama’s roundball prospects? We asked and Bill Ellis of five questions about Mark Gottfried, Ronald Steele and the 2008-2009 basketball season.

1. Who will be Alabama ’s starting five?
BamaHoops: I think the starting 5 are:
Steele- SG/PG
Hollinger PG/SG
Jemison PF
Coleman C
I wouldn’t be surprised if Knox beats out Coleman at C/PF. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Torrance gets the nod at PG over Hollinger as he’s better suited at the position. Actually I’d like to see Torrance as the starting PG. As for Green… I think he should start out on the bench and if he’s passes Jemison during the year then so be it. IMO it’s a bad idea to give Green the starting nod over Jemison. Look at how badly it played out last year with the great Rico Pickett.

Bill Ellis of Starting five by SEC: Steele, Gee, Green, Jemison, and Nate. Look for Steele to get more minutes at the two until his knee is well. With Hollinger a better two guard than point, Steele will play point in conjunction with Hollinger in my op. Mitchell has an outside chance of beating out Jemison as the season progresses.

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2. What must Mark Gottfried do to redeem himself to the basketball faithful?
BH: To redeem himself he’ll have to compete for the SEC title. The SEC is going to be waaaay down so I expect that of this team. CMG is also going to have to make the NCAAs and have his team play past Friday of the SECT. My minimum requirements… a 2nd week run in the NCAAs, a SEC regular season title, or a SEC tournament final. If none of that happens…

BE: Redemption?  First and foremost he needs to drop the arrogant attitude that he has “restored” Bama basketball to the CM and Wimp level. Second, he needs to quit whining about losing players. Third, he needs to prove he can coach kids “up”. He also needs to apologize for the lousy job he’s done and ask the fans to allow him to do better. 

3. Can he do it?
BH: We shall see… review his track record and make your own conclusions.

BE: I hope he can, but I have always believed the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If redemption is found in superior records the answer is no.

4. With the importance of guard play, has the year off hurt or helped Ronald Steele?
BH: I think the year off hurts more than it helps. He’s got to get back into playing shape. Saying that, if he’s 100% healthy (there’s questions about that), he’s a five game difference in our record.

BE: Clearly, Ron needed the time to heal. He will be better in that regard. Lost playing time can only be recaptured by play. Look for a fairly slow start. That would be an improvement from last season however.

5. If we want clues to Alabama ’s future, what should we be looking for when practice starts and during the first few weeks of the season?
BH: I wouldn’t take much from practice, but the 1st couple weeks of the season should mold our rotation. We should go at least 9 deep with no player logging more than 32 MPG. The Maui Invitational should give us an idea how we stack up against some of the better teams in the country. If we’re lucky, we could win 3 out there and receive a beatdown from UNC… worst case is playing Chaminade for 7th place. My guess is somewhere in the middle.

BE: Good question – I’d be interested in two things: Is the defense improved and how does the Tide fair in the early signing period. I know several top notch guys who have Bama on their list but are unconvinced that MG will be around.

I expect a five hundred type year unless Green breaks out which is unlikely given his limitations