SEC: Humble-Bama

By Doug Kroll - October 25, 2006

After bowing out to UCLA in a real tough game in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament, Alabama has higher expectations as they head into 2006-2007. The team is ranked highly in the pre-season, despite having only two players with more than one year's experience, out of the 12 that are on scholarship. Some have said that the boys from Tuscaloosa could be the Florida of last year (it's been said about 'Bama and Kentucky), but the jury is still out on that.

It's tough to find a starting five as good as the Crimson Tide's, especially when junior guard Ronald Steele is in the lineup. I give credit to the Alabama players and head coach Mike Gottfried, because they haven't let the preseason hype eat them up. They all said the standard lines when asked about it. Steele may have said it best.

"We have really high expectations," Steele said. "We don't read too many of the magazines. We just want to work on getting better as a team. We want to improve in every area."

Coach Gottfried talked about the inexperience of his players.

"Our team has a long way to go," Gottfriend explained. "We have a couple of guys who are pretty established...You are going to play and coach just as hard no matter what and I think that you forget about it during the season. The guys that have played one year I view as veterans. Richard [Hendrix] is a special guy. He has done a great job of helping out the younger guys that haven't played much, establish themselves."

Senior forward Jermareo Davidson talk about being 'Bama's prominent big man, and his decision to return to school.

"It was never a definite decision [to return this season]," Davidson said. "I was just weighing my options and seeing how everything went. I looked at some of the other guys at my position in the draft, and I also looked at my future team. I also took into consideration another year of school. It's pretty cool [being Alabama's big man]. I have to be able to step up and take on that role for my team. There are some things that i need to work on like my strength and being consistent."

Experience or inexperience, Alabama's Starting Five are going to give some team's a problem, and it should likely land them back in the NCAA tournament, just don't ask the very humble Crimson Tide that question too often because all you'll get is a very humble answer.

Posted by Doug Kroll at 06:28 PM on October 25, 2006

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