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Jan 27, 2018; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Herbert Jones (10) Alabama Crimson Tide guard Collin Sexton (2) talks to Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Avery Johnson during the second half against Oklahoma Sooners at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Johnson’s Alabama Looks to Make Big Leap in Upcoming Season

There’s no question that Avery Johnson has improved the Alabama basketball program in his three years there.

They arrived to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2011-2012. They even managed an impressive first-round victory against No. 8-seed Virginia Tech.

Not to mention, it was none other than Villanova, the eventual NCAA champions, that ended Alabama’s tournament hopes early. However, Avery Johnson is now at a cornerstone moment in his Alabama tenure.

His team finished with a lukewarm 20-16 overall record last season, 8-10 in the SEC. That record may not be good enough come March a second time around. Entering his fourth season at the helm, Johnson will surely be looking to turn Alabama into more of a powerhouse in the SEC.

Alabama’s roster

Coach Johnson has said he’s looking forward to having a more experienced roster at his tutelage for the upcoming season. Three players from last season’s roster have departed. Braxton Key and Ar’Mond Davis have both transferred away from Alabama.

Collin Sexton‘s NBA career is already underway after the guard was drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Johnson couldn’t disclose the specifics of this year’s recruiting class, but he said that Sexton’s selection in the NBA Draft has definitely had a positive effect towards recruiting.

While the loss of Sexton will hurt the most, Johnson was adamant that a lot of the returning players are putting in the work this offseason to make big strides.

Johnson also said that he’s excited about the potential for guys like John Petty and Donta Hall.

Expectations for 2018-19

Johnson has already set the foundation for his team to make the NCAA Tournament for the consecutive year.

He’s credited his coaching staff for doing a great job developing their players over the years.

Indeed, the players that are returning from last season’s squad will benefit from the high level of experience they went through.

Alabama will be looking to make the leap from a mid-table SEC team to a more threatening squad late in the season. Per Johnson’s pre-season comments, it’s their experience and depth that will help them achieve that.

Current Schedule

Alabama’s known non-conference opponents got a couple new additions on Wednesday. The reigning NIT Champions, Penn State, announced they would be taking on Alabama on Dec. 21, 2018.

These are the games Alabama has already scheduled for the upcoming season:

About Edgar Chavero

Sports media and management student at the University of Florida. Content creator for ESPN 98.1 FM/ 850 AM WRUF.

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