Stolen From The Tide

By Josh Herwitt - September 18, 2007

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried might want to start looking for a new point guard.

And fast.

That's because Crimson Tide point man Ronald Steele announced Monday that he will take a medical redshirt for the 2007-08 season in order to recover from offseason surgery.

"Ron and I have discussed this a few times and because he feels he won't be at 100 percent this year. I completely support him and this decision," Gottfried said. "I have said many times I will not put him on the floor prior to being 100 percent, and it is my hope that Ron will return next season even better than before."

But Gottfried is sure kicking himself now.

After all, he had a Top 150 recruit last season in Verice Cloyd, who transferred to Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla. after playing in only three games during the 2006-07 campaign as Steele's backup.

Meanwhile, Steele played through an injured left knee all last year before having two operations to repair small cartilage defects, one for each knee, on April 3.

And then just four months later, the 2007 preseason All-American was back under the knife having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on August 11.

"I am someone who tries to approach whatever I do with my best effort, and I know my body," Steele asserted. "At this point in time, I don't believe I will be 100 percent by the start of practice.

"This something I've put a lot of thought and prayer into. I want to play my best and play an entire season and know I've done everything I can on the court to help Alabama win."

After showcasing a sensational sophomore season in 2005-06, Steele saw his scoring average drop significantly from 14.3 points to 8.6 as a junior.

Now, he'll have to wait a whole another year before he can get that chance to redeem himself as a senior.

"The doctors have told me my future is good, but right now the timing for me to heal and be back in shape like I need to be to play on the level we play isn't on my side," Steele said. "My teammates are out on the floor conditioning every day, getting ready for the season, and I know how important that is."

It's not all bad for Steele, though.

The Birmingham, Ala. native will get to play his final year of college with his younger brother Andrew, a Class of 2008 recruit who has already committed to play for Gottfried and the Crimson Tide next season.

Until then, Steele has his focus pointed toward his studies as he plans to graduate in December before returning for the 2008-09 season.

"[I will] start taking classes toward a second degree in January and then come back next fall and have a great senior season with my team," he added.

Pitt's Fields Stunned By The Gun

Mark Gottfried might not be the only coach who needs a new point guard.

So does Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon.

Late last week, starting point guard Levance Fields found his way into trouble when he tried to grab an off-duty police officer's weapon outside a downtown nightclub early Sunday.

Fields was originally asked to lower his voice and refrain from using offensive language by the officer working security, and after leaving the club, the junior guard continued arguing with another male in the street.

When the officer approached Fields again and repeated his demand, the Brooklyn native took matters into his own hands, punching him in the chest and grabbing for his weapon.

But the officer managed to shoot Fields in the chest with a Taser, forcing the Xaverian High product to be taken to Mercy Hospital before Allegheny County Jail later that day.

Fields, who was released on $3,000 bail, faces charges of aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness at a Sept. 24 hearing date.

"We have built a successful program at Pitt, on and off the court, by prioritizing personal accountability and responsibility," Dixon said. "We will not compromise when it comes to those values."

Hobbs Sticking With GW

One coach that might get overlooked with Big East power Georgetown right next door in the nation's capital is George Washington's Karl Hobbs.

The seventh-year head man, who has guided the Colonials to the NCAA Tournament the past three seasons, earned a brand new contract extension on Monday that extends through June 2012.

"Karl has done an outstanding job for us here at GW," George Washington Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said. "He is a special person who is an excellent coach."

How special?

In the last three seasons, the former UConn assistant has won two Atlantic 10 tournament titles and amassed a 72-20 (.783) record.

Not bad for a guy still on his first head coaching job.

Last season, in particular, was another strong campaign for Hobbs, as the Colonials (23-9 overall, 11-5 A-10) won three straight games in their conference tournament to capture the A-10 championship.

So with Hobbs a regular resident in the A-10 for several years to come, you can count on GW to be a consistent postseason representative, either in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, when March rolls around each year.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 11:32 AM on September 18, 2007

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