Alabama basketball: An unexpected one-and-done?

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at an Alabama basketball early NBA draft decision and the looming threat of A-Day. 

When Avery Johnson was hired at Alabama, he was fairly direct about his philosophy on so-called “one-and-done” players, who make mere pitstops in college on the way to the NBA.

“I’m all for it,” he said. “We need to get some of those players.”

That recruiting bulletin may have landed a year earlier than Johnson wanted. Freshman wing Braxton Key announced on Monday that he would enter the NBA draft without signing an agent. Since he doesn’t have an agent, Key will be able to return to Alabama after the NBA combine, or if he goes undrafted. But if a team takes a flyer on him, Johnson’s #Year3 will be down one of its top contributors, which can only partially be offset by the well-regarded signing class coming in.

Key’s draft prospects are long odds, at best. He wasn’t even always the best player on an Alabama team that lost in the first round of the NIT, and never displayed the kind of preternatural talent that gets players like Ben Simmons drafted highly without making the tournament. He’s a mid-to-low second round pick at best, and he’ll almost certainly be better off returning to school.

The move may best serve him as a dry run for the 2018 NBA draft, when Key will have more of a resume to show off. Until we know for sure, his coaches and fans will just have to watch and wait.

Their worries may be slightly relieved by Ar’mond Davis’s reported decision to stay. 

ICYMI

Built by Bama

Derrick Henry missed the first voluntary workout of the Titans’ offseason, which indirectly led to headlines about Jurrell Casey RIPPING Henry, despite the fact that Casey never mentions Henry. Henry is in Tuscaloosa for workouts and classes, and will likely report to Tennessee soon. Meanwhile he’s working out with Scott Cochran.

Reuben Foster maintains he’ll be ready for training camp, but his draft stock might have taken another hit after news emerged that his rotator cuff had not yet healed. 

In the NBA, JaMychal Green was limited to 15 minutes, three points and five rebounds as his Grizzlies lost to the San Antonio Spurs, 96-82. The Spurs are up 2-0 in the series, and it hasn’t been close, though both games were in San Antonio

Around the Capstone

Katie Bailey won an individual national championship on uneven bars, scoring a 9.95 to claim the belt. The individual championships are awarded based on semifinal scores, making the field more competitive than the team title. It’s Bailey’s second national championship, after winning the vault title last season.

The softball team has all the pitching it could possibly want, but its hitting leaves a little to be desired. After anemic bats cost Alabama a series against Tennessee, the Crimson Tide tumbled down the RPI rankings, to 14th, where it would host a regional, but not a super-Regional, in postseason play.

The baseball team opened a brand new hall-of-fame in its freshly renovated stadium. It’s a beautiful reminder of the decorated history of an Alabama baseball team that is currently 2-13 in the SEC. They’ll host Alcorn State on Tuesday. 

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