Nov. 13, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men’s basketball team will play its first game of the 2014-15 regular season when it welcomes the Towson Tigers to Coleman Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. CT.
The contest marks the opening round of the 2014-15 CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The Tide will host Western Carolina on Monday as part of the event.
Friday night’s contest will be televised on SECN+ (WatchESPN.com), with Mick Gillispie (play-by-play) and Blake Thrasher (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. There will be live updates throughout the game available on Twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Friday’s contest marks the second meeting between the Tide and Tigers. The only other time the two teams met on the hardwood came on Dec. 28, 1990, when Alabama captured a 71-52 victory over Towson in the Blue Angel Classic in Pensacola, Fla.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant begins his sixth season at the helm of the men’s basketball program. He owns a record of 99-71 (.582) during his time at the Capstone and is 175-96 (.646) in eight seasons as a head coach. Towson head coach Pat Skerry, who has guided the Tigers to 43 wins in the past two seasons alone, enters his fourth season as at Towson and owns a record of 44-55 (.444). Skerry owns a career record of 68-80 (.459) entering his sixth season as a head coach.
Alabama returns eight letterwinners, which includes a pair of transfers that sat out the 2013-14 season, and four starters off last season’s team. The Tide finished a disappointing 13-19 a year ago, which included a 5-13 record in games decided by 10 or fewer points. Senior guards Levi Randolph (9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Rodney Cooper (7.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) lead the list of returnees, along with sophomore Shannon Hale (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg) who was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team a year ago.
Towson returns two starters and five letterwinners from last season’s 25-11 (13-3 CAA) team. Junior guard Four McGlynn returns as the leading scorer from a year ago, after averaging 9.2 points per game, while also leading the squad in three-point shooting (40.8%). Junior forward Timajh Parker-Rivera started all 36 contests last season and averaged 6.2 ponts and 5.2 rebounds per contest.
Alabama set for 102nd Season of basketball in 2014-15
• Alabama is set to open its 102nd season of basketball in 2014-15.
• The Tide has an all-time record of 1,581-969-1 (.620), which includes 749-568 (.596) in SEC play.
• Alabama ranks second in the SEC in total wins and all-time winning percentage.
• UA has made 31 NCAA (19) or NIT (12) appearances and has won seven SEC regular-season titles and six SEC Tournament championships.
• The Tide returns eight letterwinners and four starters from last season’s team. Included in the returnees are a pair of transfers who sat out the 2013-14 campaign in junior Ricky Tarrant and sophomore Michael Kessens. The Tide welcomes four freshmen on the 2014-15 squad.
• Senior guard Levi Randolph returns as the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, when he averaged 9.6 points per game. Over the final six games last season, Randolph was the team’s best player as he averaged 16.5 ppg, while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 44 percent from beyond the arc.
• Junior Retin Obasohan returns as the second-leading scorer (9.5 ppg) and is the leading retuner in steals (1.8 spg). Meanwhile, senior guard Rodney Cooper led the Tide with 4.9 rebounds per game, while also averaging 7.5 points and 1.8 assists per contest last season.
• Other top players from last season include sophomore forward Shannon Hale (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 35 percent from beyond the arc), who earned SEC All-Freshman honors last season, and Jimmie Taylor (3.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg).
NEARING THE CENTURY MARK
• Head coach Anthony Grant is one win shy of earning his 100th victory at the helm of the Alabama program. He would become the seventh head coach in the 101-year history to earn 100 victories at UA.
• Grant has coached 170 total games since coming to Alabama (99-71) and is on pace to become the fifth-fastest head coach to reach 100 wins at Alabama.
• Below is a list in terms of the fastest Alabama head coach to reach the 100-win mark in his career:
Coach (Overall Record at UA) Games Reach to 100 Wins
1. Wimp Sanderson (267-119) 150 games
2. Hank Crisp (264-133) 152 games
3. David Hobbs (110-76) 162 games
4. Mark Gottfried (216-138) 163 games
5. C.M. Newton (211-123) 176 games
6. Hayden Riley (102-104) 193 games
ALABAMA IN SEASON OPENERS
• Alabama has an all-time record of 80-21 in season-opening contests and enters the Towson game having won eight of its last 12 openers.
• Head coach Anthony Grant has a career record of 6-2 in the first game of the season (3-0 at VCU and 3-2 at Alabama) and is 18-3 overall in his coaching career as a head coach and assistant coach.
• UA has a record of 43-4 when playing its first home game of the season at Coleman Coliseum. That number dates back to the first-ever game played at the venue, which opened on Feb. 1, 1968 (won 86-65 vs. Samford). The four losses have come against Cornell in 2009, Mercer in 2008, Chattanooga in 1993 and La Salle in 1979.
ABOUT THE CBE HALL OF FAME CLASSIC
• Friday’s game between Alabama and Towson marks the first contest in the 2014 CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The Tide will host a pair of games at Coleman Coliseum as part of this year’s event.
• Following the game against the Tigers, Alabama will welcome Western Carolina to the Capstone on Monday at 8 p.m. in the second round of the event.
• Alabama will travel to Kansas City, Mo., for the CBE Hall of Fame semifinals where the Tide will face No. 14/14 Iowa State on Nov. 24 at 8:30 p.m. CT in the second semifinal (Arizona State and Maryland play in the first semifinal).
• The winner of the two semifinal games will play for the CBE Hall of Fame championship on Nov. 25 at 8:30 p.m., with the consolation game taking playing at 6 p.m.
• About the event: The CBE Hall of Fame Classic is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning and highly interactive college basketball fan facility adjacent to Sprint Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame hosts an Induction Celebration on the Sunday before the tournament, celebrating Hall of Fame collegiate careers. The tournament, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
• For the first time in the Anthony Grant era, the Crimson Tide has elected a captain in senior guard Levi Randolph.
• Prior to the start of the season, Randolph’s teammates unanimously voted the Madison, Ala., native as the team captain.
• Randolph is the first Alabama men’s basketball player to be named captain since Alonzo Gee was the captain of the 2008-09 team.
20-POINT GAMES IN THE SEC
• Alabama has the distinction of leading the SEC in a unique category, as play begins in the 2014-15 season
• The Tide boasts six players on this year’s roster who have scored 20 or more points in a game in their career (Rodney Cooper, Shannon Hale, Michael Kessens, Retin Obasohan, Levi Randolph and Ricky Tarrant).
• That number is tied for the SEC lead with Ole Miss, while Arkansas and Texas A&M are second in the league with five players who have achieved the feat.
NEW FACES AND NEW PLACES
• Alabama welcomes four freshmen to this year’s team. The Tide’s 2014 recruiting class was ranked as high as No. 21 in the nation. Guards Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah HS), Devin Mitchell (Suwanee, Ga./Fort Collins HS) and Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville HS) are rated as top-100 recruits nationally and slated to join the Crimson Tide on the court for the 2014-15 season. UA also signed forward Jeff Garrett (Gadsden, Ala./Oldsmar [Fla.] Christian School) during the late signing period.
• Alabama also welcomes junior guard Ricky Tarrant and sophomore forward Michael Kessens to this year’s lineup. Both players transferred to Alabama and sat out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA rules. Tarrant scored over 1,000 points in his two seasons at Tulane and averaged 15.3 points. 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game during his career. Meanwhile, Kessens averaged 13.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting 54 percent from the floor as a true freshman at Longwood University in 2012-13.
ALABAMA SIGNS THREE DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
• Head coach Anthony Grant announced that three players have signed during the early signing period, as small forward Brandon Austin (Montgomery, Ala./Carver HS), power forward Donta’ Hall (Luverne, Ala./Luverne HS) and combo guard Dazon Ingram (Theodore, Ala./Theodore HS) have all signed to continue their basketball careers at the University of Alabama.
• Austin is a 6-5, 180-pound small forward who plays under head coach and former Alabama basketball player J.J. Jackson at Carver-Montgomery High School. Austin averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists a game during his junior season. This past summer, Austin was invited to the 2014 Alabama High School Athletic Association North-South All-Star game where he was named the most valuable player of the South Team after scoring a game-high 15 points.
• Hall will come to Alabama after a standout career at Luverne High School under head coach Richard Dorsey. During his junior season, the 6-8, 205-pound power forward averaged 11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.7 blocks per game. Last season, he led his team to a 25-3 overall record and a state runner-up finish. Hall is a two-time ASWA all-state honoree, including first-team all-state accolades in 2014.
• Ingram, a 6-5, 180-pound combo guard, averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game last season for head coach Phillip Roebling at Theodore High School. Ingram was tabbed to the Alabama Sportswriters Association (ASWA) 6A First Team All-State and was named the Mobile Press Register’s 2014 Coastal Alabama Player of the Year.
• With the three signees all hailing from the state of Alabama, the Tide continues to have a stronghold on the state’s top prep basketball players. Hall is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Alabama, which marks the third consecutive year the top boys basketball player has come to the Capstone (Jimmie Taylor was ranked No. 1 in 2013 and Justin Coleman was No. 1 in 2014). In addition to signing the state’s top-ranked recruits, current Alabama player Riley Norris was ranked No. 3 in the state as a high school senior last year, while Ingram and Austin are rated by many outlets as two of the top three players from Alabama in this year’s signing class.
ALABAMA BASKETBALL TIDBITS
• Alabama ranked among the top 10 percent of all Division I men’s hoops programs in the NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR).
• Since 2000, Alabama has graduated 42 of 43 men’s basketball seniors (97 percent).
• Last season, Alabama ranked fifth in the SEC in average attendance (10,754).
• Over the last four years, Anthony Grant teams boast a record of 61-11 (.847) when playing at Coleman Coliseum.
• Since his arrival, Alabama owns a home record of 34-8 (.810) against SEC competition, including a 30-4 (.882) mark in the past five years alone.
ALABAMA MILESTONES TO WATCH
• Senior Levi Randolph comes into the season with 813 points in his career. He needs only 187 points to become the 47th player in program history to reach the 1,000-pont plateau.
• Similar to Randolph, senior guard Rodney Cooper is also nearing the 1,000-point milestone. He currently has 755 points and needs 245 points to achieve the feat.
• Cooper has played in 98 career games at Alabama. When the Tide takes the floor against Western Carolina on Nov. 17, it will mark the 100th game played in his career.
• Anthony Grant is one victory shy of winning his 100th game at Alabama.
HOME SWEET HOME
• Through his five seasons at UA, Grant has a record of 65-16 (.802) on Alabama’s home floor. During the 2013-14 season, the Tide finished 13-4 at home and outscored teams by an average of 9.5 points a game (73.4-63.8).
• Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 61 of the last 72 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (61-11; .847).
• Overall, Alabama owns a record of 530-120 (.815) in the facility’s 47th season of use.
• Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.