Nov. 2, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will play its first game of the 2013-14 campaign when it welcomes the West Georgia Wolves to Coleman Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. CT.
It will be the lone exhibition game of the year for the Crimson Tide, while the Wolves will play their second and final preseason contest. West Georgia fell at Jacksonville State, 65-52, last Thursday night in exhibition action.
There will be no radio or television for Monday night's match-up. Fans can follow the action on gametracker, or watch live on Tide TV by logging on to RollTide.com. Live updates will also be available on twitter via @AlabamaMBB.
Monday's game will mark the first time that Alabama and West Georgia will meet on the hardwood.
Alabama returns eight letterwinners and three starters off last season's team that finished 23-13 overall and reached the NIT Quarterfinals. The Tide finished tied for second in the Southeastern Conference with a 12-6 record. In all, Alabama returns approximately 67 percent of its scoring, 60 percent of its rebounding and 54 percent of its assists from the 2012-13 campaign.
West Georgia welcomes back eight letterwinners and three starters from the 2012-13 season. The Wolves finished 9-18 overall and 4-12 in the Gulf South Conference. West Georgia is led by senior forward Sean Boston, who averaged 11.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game a year ago. They also return Lavon Gray and Ryan Godfrey after both missed last season due to injury.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant begins his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 86-52 (.623) during his time at the Capstone and is 162-77 (.678) in seven seasons as a head coach.
West Georgia head coach Michael Cooney is in his seventh season as head coach. Cooney owns a career record of 82-86 (.494).
The Tide returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last season's 23-13 squad that finished tied for second in the SEC (12-6).
Five of the top seven scorers return from last year's NIT quarterfinal team, led by First Team All-SEC and All-District performer in senior guard Trevor Releford. The Kansas City, Mo., native topped the Crimson Tide last season in scoring (14.9 ppg), steals (2.1 spg), three-point field goal percentage (.407) and minutes (33.2) per game.
Junior guard Rodney Cooper returns as the team's second-leading returning scorer after averaging 10.2 points per game a year ago. He also led the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per contest.
Other top players from last season include junior guard Levi Randolph (8.1 ppg and 4.2 rpg), junior forward Nick Jacobs (7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and sophomore guard Retin Obasohan (3.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg).
Junior center Carl Engstrom, who received a medical redshirt last season, has recovered from a knee injury he suffered early last year and will supply added depth to the post players
ALABAMA BASKETBALL TIDBITS
Alabama leads all SEC men's basketball teams and ranked among the top 10 percent of all Division I men's hoops programs in the NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR).
Since 2000, Alabama has graduated 39 of 40 men's basketball seniors (97 percent).
Last season, Alabama ranked 31st in the nation in average attends (11,159).
Over the last three years, Anthony Grant teams boast a record of 48-7 (.873) when playing at Coleman Coliseum.
Since his arrival, Alabama owns a home record of 27-6 (.818) against SEC competition, including a 23-2 (.920) mark in the past three years alone.
ALABAMA MILESTONES TO WATCH
Trevor Releford enters the season on the cusp of three major milestones. He is only one point away from 1,300 points in his career (1,299), two assists shy of 300 dimes (298) and six steals from 200 career takeaways (194).
Junior Nick Jacobs needs 30 points to reach 500 points in his career.
Junior Levi Randolph needs 19 minutes to reach 2,000 minutes played in his career and also needs 19 rebounds to reach 300 career boards.
Anthony Grant is 14 wins shy of winning his 100th game at Alabama. He is only 12 games from coaching his 150th game with the Crimson Tide, which will come at UCLA on Dec. 28.
FIRST TIME IN LONG TIME
UA compiled a 23-13 record during the 2012-13 campaign, which included a 12-6 mark in SEC play.
It marked the Tide's third consecutive 20-win season under head coach Anthony Grant (25-12 in 2011 and 21-12 in 2012).
The last time Alabama had three consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins came in 1990, 1991 and 1992 when Wimp Sanderson achieved the feat - a span of just over 20 years.
In addition, Alabama's 12-6 record in SEC play marked the third straight year that Grant has led his Alabama team to a record of over .500 in conference play.
It is the first time since the 1994, 1995 and1996 seasons that UA has finished over .500 in conference action in three consecutive seasons.
RELEFORD IS SEC ACTIVE LEADER
Guard Trevor Releford will come into the 2013-14 season ranking at the top of the SEC active leaders in points, assists and steals.
Releford currently has 1,299 career points, 298 assists and an Alabama program record 194 steals entering his senior year.
RELEFORD NAMED TO BOB COUSY AWARD WATCH LIST, PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Trevor Releford was named to the watch list of candidates for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, which marks the second consecutive season Releford has been selected to the list.
Releford, a Preseason First Team All-Southeastern Conference honoree, led the Crimson Tide with 14.9 points and 2.1 steals per game, while also connecting on a team-best 40.7-percent from beyond the arc last season.
The Kansas City, Mo., native finished with 70 steals a year ago, which ranks third best in program history, on his way to becoming the program's all-time steals leader.
RANDOLPH AIMING TO BECOME FIRST ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
Junior guard Levi Randolph has some lofty expectations on the court, but it is his ultimate goal off the court that he would consider his crowning achievement at Alabama. The Madison, Ala., native hopes to become the first-ever Academic All-American in program history.
As a sophomore, Randolph earned CoSIDA/Capitol One Academic All-District First Team honors, becoming the first Alabama player to earn that honor since 2003.
Randolph, a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, maintains a 3.48 GPA as a marketing major and has been named to the Dean's List in every semester of his college career (3.1 GPA or better).
On the court, the 6-5, 205-pound guard has been equally as impressive. Last season, Randolph ranked second on the team in rebounds (4.1 rpg), third in field goal percentage (.431), three-point field goal percentage (.341), assists (59), steals (39) and minutes (30.2 mpg) and was fourth on the squad in points (8.1 ppg).
Junior center Carl Engstrom returns to the lineup after receiving a medical redshirt last season due to a knee injury.
Engstrom injured his knee just minutes into the Tide's seventh game of the season in a loss at Cincinnati.
At the time of his injury, the Ystad, Sweden native had earned a starting spot and was averaging 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds a game.
He has played a total of 53 games in his Alabama career.
GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM
The men's basketball program earned the NCAA Division I Public Recognition Award last season, given to programs that had multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of their respective sports for the 2011-12 academic year.
Based on multi-year averages, Alabama men's basketball led all SEC basketball programs with a 995 score, including a perfect score of 1000 in the 2011-12 academic year.
The Tide was also one of just two NCAA Division I schools to earn the award in both football and men's basketball, with Duke being the other.
A MILESTONE REACHED
Guard Trevor Releford scored 26 points in the loss at then-No. 10 Missouri on Jan. 8. In doing so, he became the 46th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing so in just 82 contests.
The Kansas City, Mo., native finished his third season at Alabama with 1,299 points, which places him in 26th on the school's all-time scoring leaders list.
Below is a list of where Releford ranks among the all-time scoring leaders at Alabama:
Player Years Points
24. Robert Scott 1977-80 1,321
25. Charles Cleveland 1973-75 1,312
26. Trevor Releford 2010-pr. 1,299
27. Jermareo Davidson 2004-07 1,268
WAITING IN THE WINGS
A pair of scholarship players will it sit out the 2013-14 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules.
Junior guard Ricky Tarrant came to Alabama from Tulane, where he was a two-time all-conference honoree. In his two-year career, Tarrant scored 1,013 points, had 51 double-figure scoring games and 20 games of scoring 20-plus points. He earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2012 and was an all-district performer in 2013.
Sophomore forward Michael Kessens arrived at the Capstone from Longwood University, where he was named to the mid-major Freshman All-American team by CollegeInsider.com. He averaged 13.7 points and 8.8 rebounds, while collected 33 double-figure scoring games and 11 double-doubles.
PRESEASON EUROPEAN TRIP
Alabama had a head start to the 2013-14 campaign, as the men's basketball team took part in a European Tour from August 8-18.
While there, the Crimson Tide played five games in three countries (Amsterdam, Netherlands; Antwerp, Belgium; Paris France) during the 10-day excursion.
In addition to playing games, the team also had a chance to learn about European culture, visiting historic sites such as the Eiffel Tower, Anne Frank House, Louvre Museum and the Palace at Versailles, among other places.