While there will be numerous NCAA Division 1 teams touring Canada this coming August and early September – we’ve already shared that Towson and New Hampshire will play in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa – the visit by Alabama Crimson Tide and third-year coach Avery Johnson, the former NBA star and champion with San Antonio Spurs plus coaching veteran, may have the highest profile.
Johnson has assembled a Top 5 recruiting class which includes at least two guards who figure to declare for the NBA Draft after their freshmen seasons in Birmingham including 6’3″ point guard Collin Sexton, who ESPN rates as the #2 PG in America, and 6’5″ off guard John Petty rated by ESPN as #4 SG in the U.S.A. Johnson has also recruited a pair of athletic native Alabamans in 6’9″ Alex Reese and 6’5″ Herb Jones.
Canadian fans should be able to get an up-close view of at least two potential lottery picks (Sexton and Petty) this summer at the following games:
Monday, August 7th Alabama at McGill in Montreal
Wednesday, August 9th Alabama at Carleton in Ottawa
Thursday, August 10th Alabama at uOttawa in Ottawa.
Crimson Tide finished 19-15 overall last season including a 10-8 mark in SEC play, winning a pair of early-round games in the SEC tournament before giving up a late lead to fall 79-74 in the semi-finals to eventual conference champions Kentucky Wildcats. Alabama was later denied a spot in the NCAA tournament and subsequently accepted an invite to the NIT where Bama lost their first round game to Richmond Spiders.
Bama loses just one starter, 6’7″ Riley Norris from last season’s squad and also features the coach’s son, 5’11” Avery Johnson Jr. a rising senior who came off the bench last season. For those fans who recall the Kentucky teams of the mid-to-late 80’s, Alabama features also features Associate Head Coach John Pelphrey on their staff.