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Alabama Basketball: Anthony Grant Has the Tide Grabbing Preseason Respect

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 12:  Head coach Anthony Grant of the Alabama Crimson Tide coaches against the Kentucky Wildcats during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Damon YoungCorrespondent IIOctober 25, 2011

For every team in every sport, success is what you strive for.

Success is what Alabama basketball tasted last season. But, with that success, comes the expectations of the season that lies ahead.

Alabama went 19-0 at home a year ago and won the SEC West. The Tide was snubbed by the NCAA tournament, but they channeled that rage into a run to the NIT final, where they lost to a fine Wichita State team.

Now, head coach Anthony Grant has Alabama ready to pounce.

This edition of Tide basketball is starting out ranked 17th in the nation in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll and is picked to finish fourth in the SEC by the media.

Keep in mind that there are no divisions in the SEC this season. Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida are ahead of the Tide, in that order.

For the first time in a long time, there is a definite buzz around the Alabama basketball program. You saw the surge in attendance last season, as Alabama made an improbable run after a disastrous start to the season.

Alabama will have chances early to make its mark with an early-season tournament in Puerto Rico against Maryland and key home games against the likes of Georgetown and Oklahoma State.

The nucleus of last year's team is back, led by preseason first-team All-SEC selection JaMychal Green, dynamic point guard Trevor Releford and the high-flying Tony Mitchell.

No matter who the players are, the one constant under Anthony Grant has been the work ethic of his team.

The Tide gets after opponents defensively and will make any team they face earn a victory.

The key to making Alabama a more complete threat will be the development of its perimeter game. The Tide shot an abysmal 29 percent from behind the three point arc last season.

While one hopes Mitchell and Releford have improved their outside shooting game, help could be on the way in the likes of freshman guard Trevor Lacey.

Lacey, a huge recruiting win for Anthony Grant, was rated five stars by Rivals. The sharp-shooting guard from Huntsville, AL should help the Tide stretch the floor this season.

While the Alabama nation focuses on the Crimson Tide football team and their epic clash with LSU, keep an eye open for this Alabama basketball squad.

It should be another exciting season in Coleman Coliseum.

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