- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
In 2013, point guard was supposed to be a priority for the University of Alabama’s recruiting class, but over the weekend, the Crimson Tide lost two top targets as five-star Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber committed to North Carolina State and combo guard Rashawn Powell committed to Memphis. UA was a finalist for each recruit.
The Alabama coaching staff had also been in contact with ESPN 100 point guards Kendal Harris and Jaren Sina, but Harris committed to USC and Sina gave a verbal pledge to Northwestern. Now, the Tide are still searching for their floor general of the future.
Missing out on Barber and Powell hurts, but it doesn’t take away from a good class that still has the potential to be a great class. Alabama already has commitments from 6-foot-10 center Jimmie Taylor and ESPN 100 forward Shannon Hale, and it's not done. Here’s a look at some of the top prospects available and interested in the Tide.
SG JaJuan Johnson -- Memphis (Tenn.) Southwind High School
Johnson, the cousin of Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams, is a scorer. He can shoot it from deep as well as attack the rim. The Alabama coaches told him he could play the one, two or three, but at 6-foot-5, he might fit best on the wing. Still, he can handle the ball if the Tide need him to. With recruiting, his finalists as of last week were Alabama, Louisville, Memphis, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and Texas. However, Memphis (Powell) and Tennessee (Robert Hubbs) just locked up shooting guards over the weekend. Johnson visited Miami this past weekend and plans to make a trip to Tuscaloosa next weekend for the Ole Miss football game. Alabama looks to be in pretty good shape, but Miami could be a threat.
PF Tyler Roberson -- Union (N.J.) Roselle Catholic High School
Roberson has emerged as one of the top prospects in the country, but despite his talent and the distance from home, Alabama has stayed in his recruitment the entire way. UA head coach Anthony Grant and assistant Tony Pujol met with Roberson on Sunday for an in-home visit that went well. He’s also had in-home visits from Kentucky (where he was offered), Seton Hall, SMU, South Carolina and Syracuse. He’s expecting Florida, Kansas, Rutgers and Villanova to come by later this week and this weekend. The 6-foot-7 forward has official visits set up to Kansas, SMU and Syracuse, and now he wants to take one to Kentucky after the Wildcats offered. On Sunday, he’ll decide who gets his final official visit, but the Tide feel confident they have a shot.
PF Jarrell Martin -- Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep Academy
For the No. 12 player in the country, Martin hasn’t had all the fanfare that goes with recruiting. He’s been pretty quiet throughout the process and hasn’t taken or set up an official visit yet. According to ESPN’s Dave Telep, Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma State are the only schools that have either been to his home to do a visit or have plans to visit. He has also has offers from Louisville, St. John’s, Texas A&M and UCLA. With his recruitment just starting in a sense, expect Martin to wait until the spring before he makes a decision. The Tide should be in this one until the end.
SF Troy Williams -- Hampton (Va.) Oak Hill Academy
The main reason Alabama received a visit from Williams was because of its recruitment with Barber, his friend and AAU teammate. With Barber choosing North Carolina State, the Tide’s chances may be slim to none to land Williams. Don’t expect a package deal anymore as Williams has no interest in N.C. State. It looks like he might decide between Kentucky and North Carolina during the late signing period.
PF Demetrius Henry -- Miami (Fla.) Faith Baptist Christian School
Last year, Henry had some interest from big programs, but when he opted to reclassify from the 2012 class to this year’s class, the interest has picked up considerably. As he’s improved his game, more and more schools have started calling. Over the summer, Alabama was one of the many schools who offered a scholarship. Similar to Martin and Williams, Henry plans to wait and sign during the late signing period, so the UA staff has time to make up ground.
Noticeably absent from this list is a point guard. The biggest name still on the board for 2013 is ESPN 100 point guard Tim Quarterman (Savannah, Ga./Johnson). Quarterman, who already has over 20 offers, took an official visit to LSU over the weekend. Since losing Barber and Powell, Alabama has turned its attention squarely to the 6-foot-5 guard. Grant plans to make an in-home visit with him sometime this week. Quarterman has or expects to have in-home visits with Georgetown, George Mason, LSU and South Carolina as well.
If the Tide lose out on Quarterman, don’t be surprised if they wait until next year to bring in the point guard of the future. Alabama set its sights high at the position in 2013 and missed out. It’s still early, but there are a lot of talented point guards in 2014 who could come in and play right away when Trevor Releford graduates. It would be prudent to save the scholarship and give to somebody more talented next year.
6dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
6dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf