April 9, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama men's basketball team officially closed the 2012-13 campaign with its annual awards banquet Tuesday evening at Coleman Coliseum. UA student-athletes, managers and support staff were recognized and honored for their efforts on and off the court throughout the season.
The Crimson Tide finished the season with a 23-12 overall mark and tied for second in Southeastern Conference play with a 12-6 record. It marked the third consecutive 20-win season for head coach Anthony Grant and the Tide - the first time that feat has been accomplished since the 1990, 91 and 92 seasons.
Alabama, which ended its season with a loss to Maryland in the NIT Quarterfinals, was joined by nearly 400 supporters and members of the Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club, which sponsored the event along with Tide Pride.
Following dinner, Grant spoke to the assembled crowd to give a few brief comments on the team's growth and success throughout the season and extended his heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the many supporters of the program.
In addition to recognizing the entire team and staff, special praise was given to the team's two departing seniors in guards Andrew Steele and Keon Blackledge. Senior managers David Brock and Alex Fain were also recognized on the night.
A list of individual honors awarded and comments on each from Grant at the banquet follows below.
Most Improved Player Award - Retin Obasohan
"Retin is someone who did not get as many minutes as maybe he would have liked early in the season. But he and I talked midway through the year and I told him to be prepared for an opportunity. I said it's always better to be prepared and not have an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. After home games as I was walking out, I would hear a ball bouncing in the practice gym, so I would peep in and there is Retin working on his game. He is someone who was willing to do whatever was needed to help the team succeed. When he got his opportunity, he was great."
Student-Athlete Award - Levi Randolph
"Levi takes great pride in trying to excel at both the student and the athlete part. The challenge I have given him is we want him to strive to be the first Academic All-American basketball player at the University of Alabama. That's a goal of his and something he is certainly working towards."
Outstanding Player Award - Trevor Releford
"Here is a young man who was a first team All-SEC performer and has certainly grown over the course of his time here. He is an integral part of the success we have been able to enjoy. I think he would be the first to tell you that all the individual awards are great, but the biggest thing is the success of our team and trying to take that to the next level."
Hustle Award - Andrew Steele
"This award is probably my favorite because it is an award that honors individual sacrifice and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. I couldn't think of a better recipient that's going to receive this award than this young man who I have had the pleasure of coaching for four years. I just really appreciate all the sacrifices that he's made over the course of his career."