hunter fordAlabama athletics director Bill Battle made a brilliant move by hiring former NBA player, and coach, Avery Johnson to lead the Tide basketball program.

Johnson, 50, is a New Orleans native who played college basketball at Southern University in Baton Rouge.  He was undrafted after college, but earned a place in the big leagues with his guts and determination.  He played for several NBA teams, including the 1998-99 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, on which he was the starting point guard.

He later coached in the NBA and took the Dallas Mavericks to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance, and four consecutive 50-plus win seasons.

Nick Saban has earned a reputation as a “game changer” for Alabama football.    He is someone high school recruits, and their families, believe can mold high school kids into football professionals.

Avery Johnson could do the same thing for basketball players.

Most top college recruits have visions of the NBA dancing in their heads.  Playing at a school like Kentucky has helped some of those players achieve their dreams.

But where else can you go in college basketball if you want to play for a former NBA Championship player, a former NBA Coach of the Year who led his franchise to its first-ever NBA Finals appearance, and someone who knows the Big League inside and out?

You can go to The University of Alabama, and play for Coach Avery Johnson.  When Johnson gets enough of those types of players to wear Crimson and White, the Tide basketball team will be cutting down nets on a regular basis again.

This guy may also be as much fun to watch interacting with the media as Saban is.



10 thoughts on “Avery Johnson’s NBA championship experience could lure top recruits”

  1. I like that he had a brand when he landed. “Little General “. He better get a copyright on that…. based on his previous campaigns I guess. I like how the usual suspects are lined up and all the news bites so far… are from people saying “great hire !”. Do as you are told folks! Bill made the best possible hire possible. That is for damn sure !
    All I can do now …is just be honest. He is going to have to hire the best recruiters money can buy. Otherwise…..

    1. hanging on to Pettway was his first correct (and obvious) move. getting Dazon Ingram back into the fold would be a sign things are going in the right direction.

      if you’ve watched twitter since the hire the former players like Mo Williams are jacked and want to be involved. there’s a 5 star named Malik Newman Mo is reportedly very close to.

      if we could land THAT guy, it’s a shot across the bow to the SEC and specifically Howland at State. Newman is uncommitted but considering us along with Kansas and UK.

      unfortunately, Battle’s bumbling search has pushed the program and it’s new coach up against the signing deadline. (04/13) here’ hoping that smile, infectious personality and those NBA ties can win the day.

    2. another sign, Elmo, no transfers. Grant did leave him a decent core. in today’s atmosphere of poaching players (Gottfried) and player transfers, keeping that core intact will be another huge accomplishment.


      1. Also please keep in mind he didn’t sign a 10-month contract. It’s a loLong-term contract, long-term goals. ng-term

        Saban lost half his games in his first season at Alabama.


        Be excited, and don’t discount Johnson next year if you can help it.

  2. “Alabama athletics director Bill Battle made a brilliant move by hiring former NBA player, and coach, Avery Johnson…….”

    Brilliant move??? Hunter, it was his only move.

    this search was down to Avery and Steve Prohm. and i’ll bet the house when this search started, Avery Johnson’s name wasn’t on the list.

    this search reminds me of the autobiography of Aron Ralston ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’.

    Aron is hiking alone through a crevice in a western desert. a chockstone falls above him and pins his arm. he survives for a while on energy bars and water waiting on a rescue but that soon runs out. he’s reduced to drinking his own urine.

    this is more a story of timing than anything. as Aron survives and waits he realizes that his only chance of rescue is himself. of course, to do that he’ll have to extricate his arm. there’s only one way, self-amputation.

    Aron has to be trapped long enough to reach a level of exposure and delirium to break the bones in his arm then use a dull multi-tool knife to finish cutting off his arm. (he then had to hike for 6 more hours and rappel down a cliff before he was found and rescued)

    such was then predicament when Battle leaked his intentions to the press to back a Brinks truck up to the house of a coach that didn’t want to leave where he was.

    once Battle extricated himself from that trap, time was of the essence and there was really only one choice to meet his own “Battle Plan”.


    this search wasn’t nearly the mess we had getting from Mike Shula to Nick Saban but surprisingly similar in the very public self-inflicted wounds, stupid moves and sheer dumb luck in winding up with an acceptable replacement.

    Battle fell into the slop, wallowed around for days, managed to crawl out into a near dead bush and bring home a rose.

    run forrest!

    1. I’m excited, and believe Johnson will do very well.

      Yes this search was similar to Saban’s.

      The result is all that matters now…..RTR

  3. When I was a student at Bama, folks were giving the tickets to basketball games away like it was women’s gymnastics. I’m exaggerating a bit, but when I went to a few games that’s what it felt like judging by the atmosphere and empty seats. That was at least six or seven years ago, though. It could be totally different now. Maybe this will bring some excitement back to the gymnasium IF they can find someone to recruit. I agree with Elmo. If they cannot find someone to bring high caliber players, it will be more lackluster seasons that no one remembers. With that said, Avery is obviously a very high quality coach, and he brings unparalleled basketball knowledge and expertise. Can the man recruit? I honestly don’t know, and I’m curious how far he can push the current group of guys. Otherwise, people will just look forward to football or golf. At least the men’s golf team were national champions in 2014. That’s something to be excited about.

  4. I have taken the spectacle all in. He wants to operate like Cal. Cal does not have to buy players. Avery is going to have to. It is a business. We will see if Avery can do something that only the most seasoned operators can pull off.
    It was a great press conference. Now… it is time to make sausage….

    1. well, they have got to make those games an event. a place people want to be. Coach Avery talked about Duke being the standard. if you think those students camp out to get this best seats to just watch basketball, you’re nuts.

      just hiring a coach is not enough. our coach needs support. needs every advantage. and that starts in Coleman. the students need to be courted and court side. they are the fire, the piss and vinegar, the sound and fury. get them there, get them out of the corner and you change the dynamic in more ways than one.

      i’ve preached it for years.

      commitment. commit to building a championship program.

      build it. have a vision. they’ll come.

    2. And you know what they say about sausage?

      You may like to eat it but you probably don’t want to see how it is made.!

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