Alabama Crimson Tide basketball coach Anthony Grant has officially suspended JaMychal Green, Trevor Releford, and Andrew Steele indefinitely for a violation of team rules according to a release by the University. They all had made the trip to Baton Rouge for the game tonight against LSU, but they were all sent home by Coach Grant.
Keep in mind that Grant had already suspended Tony Mitchell. In a news release, Grant said, “The consequences of their choices have negatively impacted them as individuals and the people that love and support them.” Grant went on to say that “our hope is that they will be mature enough to accept responsibility for their actions and place a higher value on their character.”
I have no idea what these three could have done to get into trouble, but it is obvious that Anthony Grant is more concerned with the character of the program than the fact that the team is in a run for the NCAA Tournament, and needs every win they can get at this point. It’s disappointing to lose these guys for tonight’s game, and however long after this, but it’s refreshing to have a coach running your program that will suspend whoever regardless of who they are if they break rules.
Releford and Green along with Andrew Steele have been sent home from Baton Rouge.
Heading into tonight’s game against LSU, Alabama will be without their three best players in Green, Mitchell, and Releford, along with a guy that has been the heart of the team in Andrew Steele. Steele is the absolute last player on the roster that I would have expected to find himself. in trouble like this.
With those four guys out for tonight, gone with them is 45.4 points per game on a team that averages just at 66 per game. Alabama will dress just eight scholarship players for tonight, 4 freshman, 3 sophomores, and 1 junior. Ben Eblen, Charles Hankerson Jr., Trevor Lacey, Carl Engstrom, Moussa Gueye, Nick Jacobs, Levi Randolph, and Rodney Cooper. Another scholarship player, Retin Obasohan, made the trip, but he has yet to play in a game this season, and the expectations for him was a redshirt season. I wouldn’t expect Grant to burn the redshirt and play him tonight.
The leading scorer suiting up for the Crimson Tide tonight is freshman guard Trevor Lacey who averages 6.8 points per game. Lacey was a five star recruit, and the expectations were for him to be a real difference maker this season. Alabama will need him to play the game of his life tonight against the Bayou Bengals.
Charles Hankerson Jr. has also played really well as of late, so we should expect him to be a big part of the offense tonight. Ben Eblen will see a lot of minutes at the point without Releford, and he does not bring much to the table offensively. He’ll need to play good defense, and avoid turnovers.
Moussa Gueye and Carl Engstrom will also see a lot of minutes tonight on the inside as will freshman Nick Jacobs.
As for the starting lineup, I’d look for Alabama to go small with a three-guard lineup of Ben Eblen, Trevor Lacey, and Levi Randolph in the backourt. In the front, I expect Nick Jacobs to start at the 4, and either Gueye or Engsrom to get the start at the 5.
This looked like a very winnable road game for the Crimson Tide before all these suspensions, but now Alabama looks to be in serious trouble. It’s going to be interesting to see who steps up in a leadership role for the team tonight. The youngsters will have their work cut out for them this evening, and it’s going to take some career performances for Alabama to walk out of Baton Rouge with a victory.