This Saturday as the Tide hosts the Tiggers, the men’s basketball season mercifully comes to an end in Tuscaloosa. Sure, there’s the SEC tournament to look forward to next week, but for all intents and purposes it ends tomorrow.
After all, does anyone expect this team to make a run next week?
Though basketball seemingly gets lost in all the football hooplah…and that’s when Bama doesn’t win a National Championship in football…hoops have a definite place in Tuscaloosa. But to this point, it doesn’t appear anyone knows what to do with it.
The hiring of Anthony Grant was the best “round ball” move Alabama has made in a long time. Within two years I predict he’ll take Bama deep into the NCAA tournament. But his hiring is just about the only visible positive on the horizon.
Abarn’s commitment to the building of a new facility is stomach turning because with it will come the kind of buzz Alabama desperately needs. The renovation of the cavern Alabama plays in reeked of a band aid being placed over a canon ball wound.
Still, through all the blown leads and 3-point losses this season, Grant’s leadership has shown a lot of promise. I went into this college basketball season similar to how I did the 2007 football season. I just wanted to see improvement. I wanted to see effort. I wanted to see players play hard again. I wanted to see them get back on defense after a turnover or missed shot. I wanted to see a team that got better as the year went along. And I wanted to see a coach actually…well…coach.
I think I can check all of the above off my list, though the team didn’t improve to the point where it could overcome late runs and a lack of depth. Only recruiting and basketball-ready bodies on the court can do that.
But while the baby steps Grant helped Bama take this season was nice, I want to see Alabama basketball be a contender again. Mark Gottfried Mike Shula’d our basketball program, and it’s going to take a while to fix it. But again, the baby steps taken this season are in the right direction.
But in summary, I just long for the day when “Selection Sunday” means something to me again. After all, there’s a lot of time between football seasons.