Getting To Know Mykal

By Jeff Lippman - October 25, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Well, first of all, senior forward Mykal Riley must have been nervous being the lone representative player for Alabama at SEC Media Day.

When asked who will step up for the red shirted senior point guard Ronald Steele, Riley meant to say Mikhail Torrance, but the similarity in their first names caused him to say his own name instead.

"But this year we have three point guards in Mykal Riley..." said the 6-foot-6 Mykal Riley. "Mikhail Torrance," he corrected.

Riley is also an excellent piano player.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried has heard him play and says he is absolutely unbelievable. But give him some sheet music and he'll be as lost as a puppy 10 miles away from home.

That's because when he was nine years old his grandmother tapped him to play piano in her gospel singing group, but he never learned to read off sheet music. Instead, Riley just played by his ear.

He can listen to any song and within minutes will be playing it like he's known the correct keys for years.

As far as his game? Well, the senior was a virtual unknown among SEC teams last season, until he started nailing shot after shot on his way to averaging 12.6 points per game for the Tide. Riley was also the team's best 3-point shooter, but once teams found out he can fill it up, they began putting more people on him.

"Teams know I can shoot it now," he said.

So here's what the senior will do this season to make up for opponents guarding him tight.

"I do a pump fake, one dribble, two dribbles, I've been working on my midrange too," he says. "I think they [opponents] adjusted. If you can shoot it, people will know that and they'll try to get to you. I think teams adjusted really good. But if they play you one way, you gotta change it up, throw something else at them."

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:13 AM on October 25, 2007

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