Has Anthony Grant lost this Bama team?

At halftime of last night’s Crimson Tide basketball game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, former Alabama head coach Gene Stallings presented junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones with the Sportsmanship Award from the Awards and Recognition Association.

And that was the lone highlight of the evening.

For the eigth straight contest, Vandy defeated the Tide basketball team, this time 69-59 in front of an announced crowd of 12,202 in Coleman Coliseum.

But don’t kid yourself, the game was not a 10-point contest.

It was a butt-whipping of BCS National Championship Game proportions.

If Jordan Jefferson happened to have been watching, he may be the only person not participating in the game who fully understood what he was seeing.

Yeah, I get that Vanderbilt is a veteran team. The Commodores are a force in the SEC on the hardwood, stocked with sharp-shooting and intricate defensive schemes that would rival anything on Tobacco Road.

But is there any excuse for Alabama to be bludgeoned as badly as last night, on their floor, to a team NOT named Duke?

Quite frankly, what it looked like to me was a team quitting. Someone should have checked the visitor’s locker room to make sure Nick Saban wasn’t delivering his famous “make their ass quit” speech before the game, because that’s what seemed to unfold in the 40 minutes that followed.

The parallels between this Alabama basketball program and where the football program was pre-2008 are everywhere.

If you remember, the 2007 press conference speech Nick Saban made the Monday after the Lousiana-Monroe game was the turning point for the football program.

That year, it wasn’t that Alabama lost games. It was how they lost them.

It may be time for Grant to lay down the gauntlet like Nick Saban did. Do it right here, or I’m out of here.

If I see Tony Mitchell walk one more time up the court, or pout, or do any of the billion other DJ Hall-esque things he does on a nightly basis, I’m going to explode.

Or if JaMychal Green takes another horrible shot trying to be “the man,” I may go poison some of my own trees. #5 and #1 at the end of the game cost the Tide a rare opportunity to win in Starkville.

And selfish, ill-advised play will continue to cost Alabama games, and a shot at returning to the NCAA tournament.

This team is soaking wet with ability, talent and potential. But right now it is blowing it like the prodigal son blew his fortunes on wild living.

Let’s just hope Anthony Grant is as forgiving as the father in that story, and that a second chance on a season hanging in the balance is what lies ahead.


(Follow me on Twitter for capstonereport.com news, commentary and smack.)

21 Comments

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  1. 1
    Tom Ward

    I enjoyed your article but completely disagree. Although the game was much worse than 10 points, the fact that Alabama continued playing hard and got the final margin down to 10 disproves your entire article. A team can play hard yet still now play well. They played poorly, but kept fighting until the end. 4 of their top 7 players are freshmen, and teams with that many freshmen normally struggle at certain times. For anyone who want to raise the issue of Kentucky’s freshmen, some of those guy are only in college to get the one year in and frankly should be in the NBA right now. The fact that Mitchell’s intensity does not yet match up to his athletic ability is true, but it doesn’t support the assertion that Grant has lost the team. In ’89, when Horry and Webb were freshmen and Benoit was a fresh juco transfer, they had a good team but also some embarrassing losses. When Erwin Dudley, Kenny Walker, and Grizzard were young, they had embarrassing losses. When Buck Johnson was a freshman and Bobby Lee Hurt and Ennis Whatley were sophomores, they lost to Lamar in the NCAA tournament. The list goes on, but teams with that many freshman playing key minutes will have nights like that.

    • 2
      ITK

      Interesting points, Tom. However I would rather lose badly with freshmen learning on the job than with upper classmen walking around and pouting.

      If I were Grant, I’d sit Mitchell and Green for three games.

  2. 4
    tblakney

    I think you have hit the nail on tne head and the two upperclassen are obviously not going along with the program.

  3. 5
    Don

    Mitchell has missed more dunks trying to make ESPN than he makes. He needs to go ahead and leave. He is an embarrassment to his teammates

  4. 8
    finebammer

    what this team is lacking is leadership, on the court and in the administration.

    my story concerning thursday night:

    i made the mistake of sending customers to the game.

    someone at the ‘bama basketball blog, where i sometimes post comments, made a comment about the game’s poor attendance,

    ” In arguably the biggest game of this season, the crowd was pathetic.”

    to which i responded:

    if the crowd who were at will/call trying to get their tickets from the dunderheads inside were allowed in with the tickets they bought it might have made a difference. (in the attendance)

    i sent four customers down there last night to pick up tickets i bought and left for them. (at will/call) between the two airheads and the arrogant prick manning that station, their tickets were lost.

    imagine my embarrassment when right before tip i get a call from them telling me they had driven two and a half hours on my word they had tickets and get down there to find they had to buy their own if they wanted to see the game.

    in meeting with them this morning, apologizing and reimbursing them, they told me they were far from alone. many were turned away because their names could not be found, one guy physically left a ticket for a late friend, the friend showed up and had it not been for one of my customers pointing out the ticket on the counter in plain sight in front of the ditz, he would have been turned away too.

    it’s this kind of half-assed effort that has pushed me away from attending games down there.

    it’s bad enough this team can’t seem to give a credible effort when they have a good crowd but then to pull this kind of shit is outrageous.

    it’s this kind of (incompetence?? or is it something else??) thing that makes me feel so lucky we have Coach Saban.

    because that’s what it is, luck.

    remember that Mal Moore had a handshake agreement with Rich Rodriguez and had his wife not heard Paul Finebaum making fun of her Loretta Lynn personna we’d have been stuck with that cheating loser.

    i wouldn’t let Mal-function run a 7/11 must less the college athletics equivalent of a Fortune 500 company.

    i’m not convinced of the coaching competence of Grant yet, but i can say without a doubt if he has any basketball coaching gravitas, he won’t hang around this half-assed operation long.

    rant/off.

    this is how the university of alabama does business, guys.

    think back to the textbook scandal and Coach Saban’s initial reaction. this kind of thing is what Saban has won two national titles in his short time here IN SPITE OF.

    the fish rots from the head. it’s an old line but it’s age hasn’t changed it’s meaning one bit.

    after all this athletic dept. has been through, the rot is still there.

    • 9
      DAMAGE INC.

      So let me understand something — the ticket personnel are a percentage to blame for poor attendance? Not letting the “right” people in — ya know that kind of thing? Just wondering.

      • 10
        finebammer

        exactly damage.

        call down there, buy tickets, show up and your ticks aren’t there.

        see how many times you go back for that shit bud.

        this isn’t football. people won’t eat shit to see this inferior product.

        this ain’t any way to do business.

  5. 12
    Nick

    Comments here are reminiscent of the comments about the football program/coaches/team before I got here. Wow we are pittiful fans when we turn on our own coaches/players. No wonder the rest of the nation thinks about us the way they do. With the comments here we deserve what they say about us.

    • 14
      finebammer

      comments here reflect the awareness of and the refusal to accept the kind of mediocrity that existed before you got here.

      some of us decided that slurping the koolaid served up by that athletic dept. led to a long line of mediocre coaches and one scandal after another.

      maybe you’ve forgotten ray perkin’s turning his back on us for a pathetic tampa bay franchise.

      maybe you’ve forgotten joab thomas turning his back on bobby bowden to hire the bumbling, inept, dishonest bill curry.

      maybe you’ve forgotten the hootie ingram/gene stallings/antonio langham scandal that led to probation.

      maybe you’ve forgotten the wimp sanderson scandal.

      i’ll bet you were REAL impressed with the hiring of david hobbs and mike dubose, weren’t you??

      franchione.

      price.

      shula.

      i haven’t forgot. and when i see something that doesn’t look or smell right, i’m gonna say something. i think that makes me a better fan that someone who sits on their hands while whistling past the graveyard.

      and i don’t give a damn what you or anybody else thinks about it.

      also, the last time i checked, we have a football coach that isn’t highly thought of by the mainstream sports media.

      i’ll bet he doesn’t give as much a damn as i do.

      (and i’ll bet when the truth is known, the jerry sandusky/penn st. scandal was facilitated by those who knew but kept their mouths shut “for the good of the program” just like you, nick)

      so to cut to the chase, nick, in case you don’t get my drift,

      f off.

  6. 19
    CRIMSON HAMMAH

    no cag has not lost the team ….the bama offense is the first possession vs ky anything else is an abomination…defense giving up too many ez layups

  7. 21
    bamatruth77

    After the dud w south carolina and a 4 game slide I think its time for some white boys to get in the mix in bama round ball….I mean hell they damn aure can’t do any worse!!! Our best scorer averages only 14 a game!!! Ciest la vie!!

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