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Monday, August 5, 2013
Alabama lands ESPN 100 SF Norris

By Reggie Rankin

ESPN 100 small forward Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville) committed to Alabama on Monday over offers from Arkansas, Butler, Florida State, Marquette, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others.

He gives the Tide their second in-state ESPN 100 recruit in less than a week after receiving a commitment from point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) on July 31. Norris is the No. 1 prospect in the state and No. 64 overall in the Class of 2014, while Coleman is No. 3 in Alabama and No. 72 overall in the country.

Norris’ commitment moves the Tide into the 2014 class rankings at No. 9 and is huge for Alabama coach Anthony Grant to keep home two of the top three players in the state.

So why did Norris pick the Tide and what will he bring to Alabama?

"My parents and I talked a lot,” Norris said. “The proximity to home helped, only about two hours away. We watched film and I fit the style of play and what they are trying to do and just felt at home at the university.”

At 6-foot-7 and about 190 pounds, Norris is sneaky athletic. He will finish above the rim on the break but is also a knock-down shooter with deep range. At times he reminds me of a high school version of Kyle Korver with a quick and confident stroke. Norris has a top-notch basketball IQ, competes on both ends and plays with great urgency as well.

Norris will bring excellent versatility to Alabama because he can play both forward positions depending on the lineup. He will be able to spot up for 3s on the side of dribble penetration, come off a variety of screens and is a pick-and-pop threat at any time during a given possession.

Grant will also have the luxury of moving Norris around within the offense to create matchup problems. Norris will be an excellent post feeder because his defender will not leave him for a second to double the low post, and opposing defenses will need to know his whereabouts at all times when playing zone because of his ability to knock down 3s.

Defensively, Norris is a very good athlete with matching bounce. He has good length, so he is capable of staying in front of his man and helping on the glass.

With Norris and Coleman on board, Grant has the Tide rolling in the right direction with homegrown talent in the Class of 2014.