Anthony Grant talks Alabama hoops

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Alabama’s basketball team will open its season Tuesday night with a home exhibition against Stillman College.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Coleman Coliseum, and tickets are $6 each. You can get them at the door or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX.

The regular season begins Friday night at 8 against South Dakota State. That’s a home game, too, and ESPNU will televise it. Tickets are $8-14.

Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant spoke with reporters today, and here are some of the highlights:

On what he 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 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.”

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 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.”

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