TUSCALOOSA The summer has been an active one for signings and re-signing NBA contracts for the Crimson Tide’s five active NBA players.
The latest Crimson Tide NBA success story is Jermareo Davidson, a senior on Alabama’s 2007 team. The Atlanta native was the 36th overall selection in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft in June. His name was originally called by Golden States, but minutes later he was Charlotte-bound where he joined former University of Alabama player Gerald Wallace as a Bobcat. Davidson was traded to the Bobcats in exchange for Brandon Wright, who Charlotte had selected with the eighth pick in the draft.
Davidson officially signed with the Bobcats on July 26, 2007. He has been working out with the Bobcats all summer and played for Charlotte in the Pepsi Pro Summer League in Orlando, Fla., where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in his five games. He led the Bobcats in an 88-74 win against the Miami Heat in the summer league, scoring 16 points by making seven of 11 shots attempted from the field.
He was an All-Southeastern Conference center/forward at Alabama, starting for the Tide all four seasons, including his freshman year where he helped power Alabama to its deepest ever run in the NCAA tournament, the 2004 Elite Eight. He averaged 10.2 points and 7.2 rebounds for his career.
Two of the NBA’s most headline-making free agents this past season re-signed to stay on with their respective teams and the cities that love those former Tide players. Guard Mo Williams, 24, will stay in his Milwaukee Bucks uniform after agreeing to a six-year, reportedly $52 million contract. Williams, the Bucks starting point guard who was the SEC Freshman of the Year and the Sporting News National Freshman of the Year his first of two seasons at Alabama in 2002, was also heavily courted as a free agent by the Miami Heat. Reportedly he will have an average annual salary of $8.67 million and has a player opt-out clause after the fourth and fifth year of the deal.
Williams, a native of Jackson, Miss., who helped lead Alabama to the 2002 SEC regular season championship and the SEC tournament’s championship game, has a Bucks’ career average of 13.1 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds in his three seasons there.He was originally drafted by the Utah Jazz following his sophomore season at Alabama in 2003, going in the 2nd round as the 47th pick. He played with the Jazz that season before signing with the Bucks in August of 2004. Williams has endeared himself to the Milwaukee community not only by his play but with his community work. He’s a spokesman for the team’s “Breakfast With the Bucks” which strives to teach kids to eat healthy and he heads “Mo’s Making Money Matter” which encourages kids to learn the value of saving money.
Gerald Wallace, the national high school player of the year his senior season at Childersburg High, re-signed as a marquee player for the Charlotte Bobcats on July 19. Wallace, 25, has been with the Bobcats since the organization’s inception as an expansion team in 2004, joining the Bobcats that June after originally signing with and playing for the Sacramento Kings for three seasons. The forward was a 1st round NBA Draft pick by the Kings in 2001. (He played at Alabama in 2001 then left for the NBA after his freshman season).
A force for the Bobcats, Wallace owns eight of the team’s top 10 scoring outputs, including a Bobcats’ record 42 points he scored against New York on January 31. In three seasons with the Bobcats, he has averaged 14.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.0 steals in 197 career games at Charlotte. The number jumped to 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds this past season. Twice during the 2007 season he was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Antonio McDyess, 32, who played at Alabama in 1994 and 1995, helping power Alabama to NCAA tournament appearances both season and a No. 20 final AP finish in 1995, signed a contract extension with the Detroit Pistons on July 23. McDyess played in a career high 82 games for the second-consecutive season with the Pistons. He averaged 8.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in a 21.1 minutes per game this past season and led the Pistons bench in scoring and rebounding. He finished fourth in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting in 2006.
The Quitman, Miss., native has been playing for the Pistons for three seasons now (he joined as a free agent) after previous stops with Denver, Phoenix and a year with the Knicks. He made Crimson Tide history as its first Olympic team member in basketball when the USA picked him for the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. He was an NBA All-Star in 2001 while he was with the Nuggets. His career NBA averages are 13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 725 NBA career games. He’s a 12-year NBA veteran. McDyess was the 2nd overall pick in the 1st round of the 1995 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Alabama. Originally selected by the LA Clippers, he was immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets.
And Alabama’s NBA active list also includes the NBA’s most golden-hand players, the owner of seven NBA World Championship rings, Robert Horry. No other active player in the NBA owns as many. Horry, who will turn 37 on August 25, has never missed the playoffs in his 15 seasons in the NBA. He leads the NBA Finals in all-time 3-pointers made. He announced after helping the San Antonio Spurs win the 2007 NBA title that he plans to stay and play at least one more season with the Spurs.
Horry played at Alabama four seasons, 1989-92, and has earned the reputation in the NBA as the man who you want the ball to be in his hands when a big shot is needed in the playoffs when everything is on the line. He’s helped his teams win seven NBA World Championships in his 16 years in the NBA. Drafted as the 11th pick overall by Houston in the 1st round of the 1992 NBA Draft, he’s won with three different teams, in Houston in 1994 and 1994,with the Lakers in 2001, 2001 and 2002 and twice now with the Spurs, in 2005 and 2007. A teacher’s kid, the Andalusia native has appeared on the television show Jeopardy a couple of times since becoming an NBA star, donating his winnings to charities.