NCB On The Trail: Alabama Crimson Tide

Crimson Tide ink 2014 class

November, 13, 2013
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Alabama head coach Anthony Grant announced the signing of three student-athletes on Wednesday, the first day of the men's basketball early signing period.

Joining the Crimson Tide in 2014-15 will be ESPN 100 prospects Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) and Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville), along with shooting guard Devin Mitchell (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill).

Notebook: Bruins host big visitor 

September, 20, 2013
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Truth? It’s not a big campus visited weekend. Take a look at the pedestrian football schedule and you’ll see what I mean. However, there are a few stragglers on campus this weekend, some of which are crucial to a few programs this year and next.

Weekly commitment roundup

August, 23, 2013
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Big Ten conference
Ohio State
Mickey Mitchell SF Plano, Texas/Plano West
HT: 6-foot-6 WT: 210 pounds
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 31
Stars: 4
ESPN 60: 31

Big East conference
Seton Hall
Angel Delgado PF Troy, N.Y./Huntington Prep
HT: 6-8 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 16
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 63

Pac-12 conference
Arizona
Craig Victor PF New Orleans/Findlay Prep)
HT: 6-8 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 5
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 31

ACC
Syracuse
Kaleb Joseph PG Nashua, N.H./Cushing Academy
HT: 6-3 WT: 165
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 10
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 51

Maryland
Trayvon Reed C Snellville, Ga./Shiloh
HT: 7-1 WT: 210
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 9
ESPN 100: 84

SEC
Missouri
JaKeenan Gant PF Springfield, Ga./Effingham County
HT: 6-8 WT: 210
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 7
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 37

Tennessee
C.J. Turman C Madison, Ga./Morgan County
HT: 6-9 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4

Alabama
Brandon Austin SF Montgomery, Ala./Carver
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 14
Stars: 4

Big West conference
UC-Santa Barbara
Justin Burks SF Las Vegas/Arbor View
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

CAA
Drexel
Rashann London SG Philadelphia/Roman Catholic
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ivy League
Princeton
Mike LeBlanc SF Dover, N.H./New Hampton School
HT: 6-6 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

NEC
Farleigh Dickinson
Devin Eke PF Scotch Plains, N.J./Union Catholic
HT: 6-6
Class of 2014
Position Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

America East
Binghamton
Justin McFadden SG Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion
HT: 6-5 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Vermont
Brandon Hatton SG Covington, Ky./Dixie Heights
HT: 6-2
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Cam Ward SG Marshall, Wisc./Marshall
HT: 6-2 WT: 155
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Center C.J. Turman commits to Vols

August, 18, 2013
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Tennessee landed its fourth recruit from the 2014 class on Sunday when four-star center C.J. Turman (Madison, Ga./Morgan County) committed to the Vols, ESPN.com has confirmed.

Alabama, Georgia, Houston and Miami were among the schools to offer Turman.

Turman joins a class that features ESPN 100 point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) along with four-star prospects Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater) and Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin).

Reading through the typical recruiting jargon can be a difficult task, especially for the untrained eye, but suffice it to say that things aren’t always what they seem.

Some of the most misleading statements often include sayings like, "He has offers from," or "He chose school X over," or "He decommitted from," primarily because they consider only one side of the process.

The fact of the matter is that schools choose prospects as much as prospects choose schools, and the former is no less fluid than the latter.

What does that mean? It means that sometimes when a tweet or recruiting article says Player X committed to School Y over offers from Schools A, B, C and D, what it can really mean is that Schools A, B, C and D offered Player X at some point in the past, but are no longer recruiting him, so he decided to commit to School Y.

Now, why would a school suddenly stop recruiting a prospect? Because they suddenly realized he wasn't good enough? Possibly, but more likely it's because they have since received a commitment from, or feel like they are on the verge of a commitment from, someone else at the same position whom they hold in a little higher esteem.

So, with that in mind, we're going to rewind through a particularly busy few weeks in the national point guard market and make an attempt to translate the real story. Whether it was a prospect who made a commitment or cut his list, we'll tell you which schools are in, which are out, the real story behind whose decision it was, and the bottom line for each prospect. Then we'll circle back and tell you which two ESPN 100 point guards are still uncommitted and open to new suitors.

[+] EnlargeTyus Jones
AP Photo/Damen Jackson No. 1 PG Tyus Jones recently reaffirmed his desire to play college hoops with No. 1 overall recruit Jahlil Okafor.
News: Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) reaffirms his intent to go to school with Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young)
In: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State
Out: Minnesota
Real story: Minnesota is still on Jones' list of seven, but the Gophers aren't on Okafor's list. That, in addition to the fact Richard Pitino and his staff could be seen prioritizing other targets this summer, is indication enough that Jones isn't likely to be staying home next season. The latest twist in the story is Okafor's AAU coach, Mike Irvin, going on record saying there is a great chance Duke lands Jones, while Okafor's camp has denied the Blue Devils are the leader for the package deal.
Bottom line: Jones and Okafor do want to go to school together, but they don't yet agree on where. Jones appears pretty set on Duke, but Okafor not quite as much at this point. ESPN 100 SF Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John's) is also part of the conversation, making this potentially one of the biggest package deals in recent history.


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Class of 2014 three-star shooting guard Devin Mitchell (Lawrenceville, Ga./Collins Hill) committed to Alabama on Wednesday over offers from Wake Forest, Georgia, Kansas State and UAB to give coach Anthony Grant his third commitment in the past week.

[+] EnlargeDevin Mitchell
Shun Williams2014 SG Devin Mitchell has a knack for scoring in bunches.
In addition to Mitchell, Grant added ESPN 100 small forward Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville) on Monday and received a commitment from ESPN 100 point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) last Wednesday. Norris ranks No. 64 and Coleman No. 72 in the 2014 class.

In the span of a week, the Tide went from zero commitments to No. 9 in the 2014 recruiting class rankings.

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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?

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Notebook: Recruiting notes from July 

August, 2, 2013
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Thanks to a busy July and a run of news this week following the end of the July evaluation periods, the return of our weekly Friday recruiting notebook has no shortage of big-time recruiting info. From a big decommitment for Louisville to a host of trimmed up college lists to notes from a busy month on the road, we’ve got you covered.

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ESPN 100 point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) committed to Alabama on Wednesday over offers from Auburn, Arkansas, UAB, Butler and Xavier, among others.

Justin Coleman
Courtesy of NikeNo. 72 recruit Justin Coleman committed to Alabama on Wednesday.
Coleman’s pledge puts the Crimson Tide on the board in the 2014 class with the No. 3-ranked player in the state of Alabama and the nation’s No. 72 overall prospect in the ESPN 100.

The point guard position was a huge priority for the Crimson Tide in the Class of 2014, so head coach Anthony Grant and his staff have filled a major need with Coleman on board.

What will he bring and how does he fit with the Tide?

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ESPN 100 SF Oubre headed to Findlay

June, 15, 2013
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ESPN 100 small forward Kelly Oubre (Fort Bend, Texas) has decided to spend his senior year at Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nev. Findlay head coach Todd Simon announced the news on Friday.

Oubre averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per game for Bush High School last season. The five-star prospects currently holds offers from Alabama, Arizona, UConn, Baylor, Houston, Kansas and Memphis, among others.

The Findlay Pilots finished last season at 35-1 and ranked No. 3 in the final ESPN 25 Power Rankings.

Vols land ESPN 60 PF

June, 11, 2013
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According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee nabbed a verbal commitment from ESPN 60 junior forward Phil Cofer (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) on Tuesday.

Cofer, ranked No. 56 in the 2014 class, chose the Volunteers over Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, among others. He joins shooting guard Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin) in Tennessee's 2014 recruiting class.

Tennessee lands 2013 point guard 

March, 24, 2013
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Point guard Darius Thompson (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Blackman) ended his recruitment on Saturday night with a pledge to Tennessee, according to the Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In the Class 3A Alabama state semifinal game, freshman Joshua Langford scored 30 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as Madison Academy held off a Greensboro team featuring Alabama signee Jimmie Taylor to advance to the finals.

What would the 2016 prospect do for an encore?

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Shannon Hale celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, but his best gift didn’t come until Wednesday when he signed his national letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Alabama.

Jimmie Taylor
Courtesy of Caroline Williams/USA Basketball Greensboro, Ala., center Jimmie Taylor was one of two players that signed letters of intent to Alabama on Wednesday.
“It was exciting,” Hale said. “It was a pretty good feeling to sign those papers. It’s also a little bit of a relief to have it behind me and to make it official now.

“The coaches were pretty happy for me. They called me to wish me a happy birthday yesterday, and we just talked about signing today. They sounded like they were pretty excited to have me.”

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Over the weekend, ESPN 100 shooting guard JaJuan Johnson (Memphis, Tenn./Southwind) took his third and final official visit to Marquette for the Golden Eagles’ Midnight Madness festivities.

“It went good,” he said. “The atmosphere was crazy because it’s a basketball town. They had pictures and signs with my name on it.”

Johnson has narrowed his list to Alabama, Marquette and Miami and says a decision will come soon, probably in the next 10 to 12 days. The 6-foot-5 guard talked about his other two finalists, the Crimson Tide and the Hurricanes.

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