New Crimson Tide basketball coach Avery Johnson doesn’t waste any time in drumming support for dormant program
Newly minted Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson was invited by football coach Nick Saban to speak with the team before Wednesday’s practice.
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According to AL.com, Johnson met with Saban for 30 minutes before his introductory news conference. Saban was excited to have the former NBA point guard around.
“Avery Johnson is part of our family now…He’s going to be in my basketball league but I’m going to play the point,” Saban told the Tuscaloosa News.
Johnson has nothing to lose by speaking with the football team. He’s was probably doing the new coach routine to drum up some support.
After all, he said as much in a statement on being the new basketball coach:
“I am extremely excited about this new opportunity, to become the men’s basketball coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide,” Johnson said. “Coaching on the collegiate level has always been a lifelong dream. I am thrilled that I have an opportunity to do it at one of the most prestigious universities in all of America.
“Our goal is to make Alabama the leader of the college basketball world. Our fans can expect a team that is going to be very exciting to watch, on both the offensive and defensive ends. A team that’s well-prepared and plays with passion, with high energy. The type of team that our fans can support with a lot of enthusiasm. We’re going to recruit at the highest level, both in-state and out of state. Recruiting in the state of Alabama is a high priority. Our vision is to recruit and develop student-athletes that the University of Alabama and the community can be proud of. Our players are going to be players of high character, people that care about winning and their teammates more than themselves.
“I want to thank Athletics Director Bill Battle for making the trip to Dallas to present this wonderful opportunity to me and my family. I am looking forward to meeting our fans; our former players; our President Dr. Bonner; our boosters; our staff and administrators.
“Get ready for the ride of your life at Coleman Coliseum!”
In a football-mad state like Alabama, Johnson’s underdog persona could do well in Tuscaloosa, since the basketball team is an afterthought. For most of Johnson’s playing career, he was routinely told what he couldn’t do.
Maybe his history of proving doubters wrong will turn around Alabama’s dormant program.
Johnson’s hiring alone has done more for the program than anything in recent memory. After all, most Crimson Tide fans would be hard-pressed to remember the last time anyone tweeted anything positive about Alabama basketball.
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