Avery Johnson Previews Alabama Basketball’s 2018-2019 Season
Avery Johnson's Alabama Crimson Tide embarks on a journey toward a potential return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Last season, the Crimson Tide appeared in their first NCAA Tournament since 2012 and won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2006.
Prior to Alabama's lone exhibition game of the season against Montevallo, head coach Avery Johnson discussed his team's prospects for the upcoming season with Wimp and Barry Sanderson on Inside the Locker Room.
Coming into the season, the fourth year head coach for Alabama has one primary concern on his mind.
"I just think we got to get an identity." Johnson said.
In addition to playing great defense, Johnson thinks that improving in several areas will help this year's team find their identity.
"We have to become more of a balanced team and that means we have to take care of the ball on offense. We got to become a better three-point shooting team. We got to finish in the paint at a higher rate. We got to definitely become a better offensive rebounding team. As much as we miss, we have to get more offensive rebounds and that gives us an opportunity to score in the paint more or kick out for easy threes." Johnson said.
In the offseason, Alabama signed three players in the 2018 class including guard Kira Lewis from Meridianville, Alabama. Lewis decided to forgo his senior year of high school to attend the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide's head coach described what he sees out of the Hazel Green High School alum.
"He has a great demeanor. He has a quiet confidence." Johnson said. "This kid is a lot more reserved but, boy, he's lightning fast, and he can shoot it. He's very competitive on the defensive end, but right now he is 165 pounds. He's working on his body developing."
Although Alabama lost the services of Collin Sexton to the NBA, Johnson believes that the former Crimson Tide point guard's impact is paying dividends on the recruiting trail.
"With him committing to Alabama and what he did for us at Alabama, it just took us to another level in recruiting." Johnson said.
The Crimson Tide's head basketball coach elaborated on how Sexton's development into an NBA Lottery pick matters for the program.
"Obviously, because of my resume, you can get into some homes and talk to some picks but when they see you develop a guy like Collin into a lottery pick in the NBA, He was probably the 15th pick or 12th pick when he came to campus and then he ended up moving up to the No. 8 pick for the (Cleveland) Cavs. It just gives you a little bit more cache with recruits in future classes because they respect Collin. They look up to him." Johnson said.
Later in the discussion, Johnson touched on the return of Riley Norris, Tevin Mack's potential contributions to the team and learning the art of assembling a quality non-conference schedule for an NCAA Division I basketball program.
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