TUSCALOOSA – New coach Kristy Curry has been charged with the task of turning Alabama into a consistent postseason contender. With a big home win over Wisconsin, we were able to see the beginning of that vision play out in front of a nice crowd inside Foster Auditorium. While the Alabama program is still a ways away from the postseason runs that Curry authored at Purdue and Texas Tech. We left Alabama with a good idea of where the first-year coach goes from here.
1) Daisha Simmons staying healthy will be key to this year’s team.
A redshirt junior, Simmons started her career at Rutgers before transferring to Alabama to play for the previous staff. Very quickly, the new staff identified the former Elite Basketball Academy camper as a centerpiece to the movement. That feeling was evident as Simmons played the majority of the game while spending a lot of it teetering on the verge of foul trouble. She people who can write college essays played 34 minutes as the primary ball handler finishing with 11 points, five steals and four assists. Keeping Simmons healthy as the season wears on will be a top priority much like Georgia did during the Ashley Houts years.
2) The team is bought in to Kristy Curry’s system.
From Simmons at the point to sophomore post Nikki Hegstetter, this group is locked into what coach Curry is preaching. A perfect example came midway through the first half in this game. Down 12 to Wisconsin after an 0-3 start to the season, this served as a perfect chance for the Crimson Tide to fold their tents and go home. That said, they did just the opposite digging their heels into the ground and locking in to find a way to bring the new staff their first victory on the bench inside of Foster.
3) Khadijah Carter and Karyla Middlebrook are two to keep an eye on.
Both Carter and Middlebrook are freshman who were set on heading to Lubbock to play for Curry at Texas Tech. Fortunately for this year’s roster, they are help me with my assignment both in crimson and starting for the Tide on the perimeter. At various points in the game, each played a major role whether is was Carter with multiple 3-point baskets or Middlebrook cleaning up offensive rebounds and putting the ball in the bucket. Keep an eye on both for possible postseason All SEC team honors as they’ll have plenty of minutes and opportunity to make strong cases for such recognition.
4) The recruiting trail has been both kind and plentiful.
Curry has garnered commitments eight players including Carter and Middlebrook since she arrived in Alabama. To understand how quickly Curry and her staff (Kelly Curry, Terry Nooner, Shereka Wright) have hit the trail, remember that just seven months she was being introduced as the new face of the program. In 2014, the Crimson Tide will welcome JUCO guard Coco Baker and high school preps Hannah Cook and Nene Bolton. Baker was an ELITE 100 prospect coming out of high school and spent her freshman season at LSU. Cook is a dead eye shooter from either forward position while Bolton brings length and speed to help me on my essay the forward spot. In 2015, Alabama already has three verbals from Taylor Doan, Trista McGee and Shaquera Wade.
5) Nick Saban, Nick Saban, Nick Saban.
It’s no secret than major college football drives the exposure for the majority of power conference programs. In this case, it’s much bigger than that. Alabama has arguably the nation’s premier football program and as a result, the nation’s premier football coach. Nick Saban and his program mean huge crowds in Tuscaloosa on football weekends providing an ideal backdrop to host the caliber of basketball recruit that can help the Crimson Tide reach the postseason. Using Saban’s presence as an advantage should give Curry just another selling point to aid in the recruitment of players from near and far.
Brandon Clay is the owner of the JumpOffPlus.com International Report, Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. The JumpOffPlus.com is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He serves as the Executive Camp Director for the Elite Basketball Academy Camps. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com