Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tide basketball heading north for non-conference game

Another piece of Alabama’s non-conference basketball schedule became clear after the Tide’s Dec. 1 home date with Georgetown became clear last week.

Alabama signed on for a home-and-home series with Anthony Grant’s alma mater, Dayton. The Dayton Daily News is reporting the Tide will play in Ohio on Dec. 7. It would be the first game with a BCS school in UD Arena since 2007.

Dayton coach Archie Miller had nice things to say about Anthony Grant when speaking to the Dayton newspaper.

“Anthony Grant is one of college basketball’s best coaches — it just so happens that he played here,” Miller said. “To have an opportunity to be part of that series is great because I think they’re going to contend in the SEC this year. Obviously, to bring them into UD Arena is fabulous for our fans.”

The UD Arena is recognizable since it is a regular site for NCAA tournament games. It annually plays host to the opening round that Alabama fell just short of reaching last season.

From looking at last season’s schedule, there will be some holes to fill after home-and-home series ended with opponents like Purdue, Providence, and Toledo.

Read the rare Harvey Updyke interview with ESPN

It took traveling to the wilds of Louisiana, but ESPN reporter Wright Thompson scored a sit-down with the accused Toomer’s Corner tree poisoner.

Harvey Updyke didn’t disappoint in the story (found here) that went live on the ESPN website today.

The Alabama-obsessed fan described all facets of his complicated and sometimes tragic life. He even throws out a vague description of the guy who really poisoned the trees. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind.

Tide RB Demetrius Goode transferring to UNA

The web is buzzing again about another roster edit for the Alabama football program.

Demetrius Goode is leaving the crowded Tide backfield and is headed towards Florence and UNA. He wasn’t expected to make much of an impact in Tuscaloosa this fall even after Mark Ingram departed for the NFL.

Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and Dee Hart appeared to be ahead of Goode on the d*pth ch*rt after spring practice.

You can read more about this move on the TimesDaily website by clicking this link.

Gaspard: Hoover a nice place to play SEC tourney

There was a possibility this week’s SEC tournament would be the last in Hoover for some time. In the end, the league and city chose to extend their deal and keep the even in the Birmingham suburbs.

Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard didn’t object to that.

“With our fan base — if we can get going and you win Game 1, the energy starts to build and the crowds get bigger and bigger,” he said. “It’s a great place for us and if you get things going, we can really use that to our advantage through the tournament. It’s a fun time for our players. Just about every game we played last year had 10-12,000 people.”

The Tide fans looking to catch the opener will have to get to Regions Park early on Wednesday. Alabama plays the first game of the tournament at 9:30 a.m. against Arkansas.

Read more later.

Bear Bryant fan of the day

As spotted Sunday in Muscle Shoals on Sunday afternoon.

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Your printable SEC baseball tournament bracket

Get the office pool fired up tomorrow. It’s SEC tournament time. Here’s the official SEC baseball bracket:

Click to enlarge.

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SEC tournament bracket released

Here’s the schedule of events for Day 1 of the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover

Wednesday, May 25
Game 1 9:30 a.m. #7 Alabama vs. #2 Arkansas [CSS]
Game 2 TBD #6 Mississippi State vs.#3 Florida [CSS]
Game 3 4:30 p.m. #8 Auburn vs. #1 South Carolina [CSS]
Game 4 TBD #5 Georgia vs. #4 Vanderbilt [CSS]

More on Belgian basketball signee, injury news

I promised more coverage of Friday’s basketball news in today’s print editions. If you’re reading in Decatur, I didn’t follow through. The story did not appear in today’s printed paper. Here’s what you missed:

If Trevor Lacey was the catch of the week, Rentin Ojomoh was more of the mystery meat.

Three days after landing the biggest unsigned recruit in the nation, the Alabama basketball program picked up the relative unknown from Belgium on the final day of the spring signing pe­riod.

Ojomoh was so far off the radar that national recruiting websites Scout and Rivals didn’t even have a profile or rating for the Tide’s latest foreign import. The shooting guard from Antwerp be­comes the third Alabama player who hails from over­seas joining current center Carl Engstrom (Sweden) and incoming transfer Moussa Gueye (Senegal).

Coach Anthony Grant also sounded positive about the academic eligibility of the six-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this fall.

“We obviously expect ev­eryone that we sign to fully qualify,” Grant said. “Once the high school year is over, all your stuff has to be sent to the (NCAA) clearinghouse. The clearinghouse certifies you eligible, so as of right now, we anticipate everyone will be able to enroll over the summer and obviously be available for next year.”

Continue reading

Saban pledges $50K to neighborhood previously profiled here

AP photo/Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton

AP photo by Dusty Compton, Tuscaloosa News

The news out of Tuscaloosa today, I admit, made me smile. The Nick Saban foundation is giving $50,000 to Project Team Up to help rebuild a certain neighborhood I visited three days after the storm.

First read this and this to learn more about the donation.

You may remember Fifth Street Northeast if you read my story from May 1 — just three days after the tornado pulverized everything. I also had a few blog entries including this one with before and after pictures of the street. This was the same street where Tide basketball coach Anthony Grant spent the day picking through the rubble.

It was powerful stuff seeing everything first hand. For those of you who haven’t, it’s still hard to comprehend.

On another tornado note, I encourage everyone to read the Sports Illustrated cover story from this week. I refused to read the Lars Anderson story online. It’s best the old fashioned way. It’s poetic. Read it and remember the state is still struggling and in need of all the help you can provide.

Long list of off-season basketball news found here

The Anthony Grant teleconference just ended and we have quite a bit to report. To make this easy, let’s use bullet points.

  • Injury 1: Tony Mitchell had arthroscopic knee surgery in April to take care of tendinitis and “loose growth” in his left knee.
  • Injury 2: Trevor Releford had surgery to correct a sports hernia that he played with most of the season.
  • Injury 3: Ben Eblen had a deviated septum.
  • The concussion issue for Andrew Steele sounds like a serious one. He suffered one in the SEC tournament loss to Kentucky. It was his second concussion while at Alabama and fourth of his career. Grant said he was talking with Steele family to decide best plan of action moving forward.
  • In recruiting news, Grant said he expects all six members of the signing class to be eligible for the upcoming season.
  • JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell were invited to summer tryouts for the U.S. national team playing in the World Basketball Games.
  • Carl Engstrom will play on the Swedish U-20 team this summer.

Read the print edition tomorrow for more details including the back story from newest signee Retin Ojomoh.

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Tide hoops adds another foreign import

If you’re not to familiar with the talents of Retin Ojomoh, join the club. But if you’re following Alabama basketball, his name will come up again.

The school just announced Ojomoh signed a letter of intent to play next season.  Today is the last day of the spring signing period.

Pronunciation help: Retin (ra-teen) Ojomoh (o-juh-mo).

He’ll add to the European flavor since he’s Antwerp, Belgium where he’s a member of the Under-20 national team. Carl Engstrom, the 7-foot reserve, started the trend last season when he came to Tuscaloosa from Sweden.

Anthony Grant has a teleconference scheduled for a 10 a.m., so we’ll find out a little more about this latest roster addition.

Video of Retin Ojomoh from YouTube (I think that’s him at :14 in):

Tide baseball wraps up SEC tourney bid

No matter how the math is done, Alabama has a spot in the SEC baseball tournament on ice. It’s 2-1 win over No. 3 South Carolina assured, at the very least, the Tide was going to Hoover.

The seed and first-round opponent is far from decided, but the ticket is Alabama’s. Don’t ask me to break down the tie-breakers and all that. It’s far too confusing for my tiny brain to comprehend, much less repeat.

There was some intrigue entering today’s three-game series opener with South Carolina. The Gamecocks are, after all, ranked third nationally and the defending national champions.

Nathan Kilcrease pitched a complete-game six-hitter in Tuscaloosa to send Alabama back to Hoover.

Read more in print Friday.

Tide hoops to host Georgetown in December

The Big East/SEC Challenge will head to on-campus sites this winter. That means Georgetown will head to Coleman Coliseum for the Dec. 1 game announced this afternoon. Tip times and television assignments will be announced at a later date.

All 12 of the SEC teams are participating this year after league teams went 3-1 in last season’s event.

The Tide last played Georgetown came in 2007 when the Hoyas beat Alabama 70-60 in Birmingham.

Georgetown went 21-11 last year and struggled down the stretch playing in the brutal Big East.

Dec. 1 (Thursday)
Georgetown at Alabama
Providence at South Carolina
St. John’s at Kentucky
Ole Miss at DePaul
Dec. 2
Auburn at Seton Hall
Florida at Syracuse
Cincinnati at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Louisville
Dec. 3
Arkansas at Connecticut
West Virginia at Mississippi State
LSU at Rutgers
Pittsburgh at Tennessee

Today in print: More on Lacey signing

Here’s a taste of what ran in print this morning:

HUNTSVILLE — Buzzing with anticipation, the auditorium at Butler High quickly fell silent Wednesday afternoon when Trevor Lacey reached for the paperwork.

Opening the manila folder, grabbing the pen and signing his name, the Parade All-American ended one of the longest recruitments in recent memory when leaning back to the microphone.

“And I just signed with the University of Alabama,” he said reaching for the crimson cap before him and drawing a loud ovation from those waiting on edge.

The five-star prospect picked the Crimson Tide over one-time front-runner Kentucky, late-entry Kansas and in-state rival Auburn. The recruitment clock was ticking for the two-time Mr. Basketball since the spring signing period ends Friday. He was the nation’s top unsigned player before faxing his paper work to Tuscaloosa.

Buy a newspaper or read the rest here or here. Also checkout Decatur Daily sports editor Mark Edwards’ column found here.

Lacey 'a small Magic Johnson' says high school coach

AP photo by Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times

Butler High School coach Jack Doss was far from conservative when talking about the talent Trevor Lacey will bring to Tuscaloosa next season.

A few legendary names crept into his responses to questions from reporters.

“He’s a small Magic Johnson,” Doss said. “There’s nothing he can’t do on the floor.”

Earlier he spoke about the attention Lacey drew from opposing defenses.

“LeBron James, I watched him in high school and I don’t want to compare them as players, but he was never double teamed as much as Trevor,” Doss said. “Trevor probably went 14 games when he was double teamed. … It’ll probably be easier in college because he won’t be double teamed.”