Men's Hoops Set To Open Season Tuesday vs. Stillman College

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Alabama head coach Anthony Grant returns eight letterwinners and four starters off last year's NCAA Tournament squad.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant returns eight letterwinners and four starters off last year's NCAA Tournament squad.

Nov. 5, 2012

GAME NOTES vs. Stillman College

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will take on Stillman College on Tuesday night in its lone exhibition game of the 2012-13 season. The Crimson Tide and Tigers are set to tip-off at 7 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum.

The contest will be a tune up for Alabama’s season opener on Friday evening against South Dakota State, which will be at 8 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNU.

All tickets for Tuesday’s exhibition game are $6 and are available at the Athletics Ticket Office or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX.

Fourth-year head coach Anthony Grant spoke to the media on Monday about the exhibition contest, as well as this weekend’s season-opening games against the Jackrabbits and West Alabama (Sunday  at 4 p.m.), which are part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.

“It would be an understatement to say that we are excited about this upcoming week with the season starting,” Grant said. “We’ll have an exhibition game here on Tuesday and will get a chance to play outside competition. I think our guys have been going at it pretty good here for the last two or three weeks since practice started. I think it’s great for us to have a chance to play outside competition.”

Entering its 100th season of men’s basketball in 2012-13, Alabama returns eight letterwinners and four starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament squad. The Crimson Tide, which finished with 21 wins and the first NCAA appearance since 2006, returns 73.3 percent of its starters and 63.7 percent of the total scoring output from the 2011-12 campaign.

Fans will also get their first glimpse of highly-touted newcomers Devonta Pollard and Retin Obasohan, both of which are expected to be big contributors in the upcoming season.

Stillman College will not be an easy task, as the Tigers were picked to win the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), returning three all-conference members from a year ago. Leading the list of returnees is 6-5 forward Ladarius Rhone, who averaged 13.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game in 2011-12.

“Stillman is a team that is picked to win their league,” Grant said. “They are a very well-coached and talented team, so it will be a good challenge for us as we get prepared for our first regular season game on Friday against South Dakota State.”

For more information on Alabama men's basketball, follow the Tide on Twitter @AlabamaMBB and like the team on Facebook at AlabamaMBB.

Below are some more quotes from Grant’s media press conference surrounding the start of the 2012-13 season:

On what Coach Grant liked most out of the closed scrimmage:

“We scrimmaged Memphis on Saturday and had a chance to look at the film. Memphis is a very good team and I think we were able to get a lot out of the scrimmage. I think the NCAA allowing you to do these types of things, in terms of scrimmaging other teams, is really good. We have a relatively young group that was able to gain some experience. As a coach, I was able to see different matchups, different lineups. We had eight scholarship guys available so we were able to mix and match a little bit and see some things which is always good. I think it will help our guys as we prepare for the start of the season from an offensive and defensive standpoint.  I definitely think it was a great experience for us and hopefully we provided an opportunity for Memphis to better as well, which I feel like we did.”

On where the rough edges are at this point:

“I think it all may be rough edges at this point. It’s the first week in November, so I think what you want to be able to do is see where you can get better. For us, it’s an opportunity to teach and learn. Again, I think it’ll be about trying to figure out what gives us the best chance to be successful as we move forward. I think Saturday’s experience was good. I think (Tuesday) will be a great challenge for our team as we get ready for the regular season.”

Any more impressions on (Devonta) Pollard and how he is adapting:

“He’s doing well. Both he and Retin (Obasohan), both freshman, are picking things up well. They are understanding with every practice, what is going to be expected of them and what they have to do. It’s a learning experience every day. I don’t think there will ever be a situation where as a freshman, you can say ‘ok, he’s got it.’ Every experience, every day is a new day. I think both of those guys are doing well.”

On what’s different about an exhibition game:

“I think in the preseason, you can use these things to kind of experiment. We play a lot of different lineups, mass substitutions and different things from a defensive standpoint. The whole thing right now is about trying to get better. It’s not about trying to win so much as it is let’s see what we have, let’s put guys in different scenarios, put guys in different situations, let’s see what the best offensive and defensive personnel that fits the team we currently have.”

On Moussa’s development the past few weeks and how he’ll fit in:

“I think Moussa right now, physically, is really good in terms of where his body is compared to last year. For Moussa, I think he has a chance to really impact our team, on the defensive end rebounding the basketball. Offensively, he is still learning where and how he can be effective. That’s our job as coaches to help put him and our team in the best chance to be successful.”

On how Alabama shot the ball in the scrimmage:

“We were sloppy in a lot of different ways. NCAA rules don’t let me get into specifics about the scrimmage, but there are certainly areas where we saw offensively where we need to get better. I think it was good and there are things we can do better.”

On Trevor Releford’s leadership of this team:

“We talked about that at the beginning of the season. I think the biggest thing for Trevor and our team is to understand not just leadership, but ownership. Releford is a guy who has been in the program for three years. We have guys that are invested in what we want to do, and there is an understanding of what we want to do now in his fourth year. It’s more about taking ownership and being invested, really for everyone. My staff and I are going to provide the leadership, but they’ve got to take ownership and understand what it is we are trying to accomplish.”