For coach Avery Johnson the season has been filled with firsts, but on Wednesday night Johnson will get to do something he’s been doing since he was a kid in New Orleans, Louisiana where he grew up competing against Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy.
The two coaches played in the same Catholic school league, and last year Johnson watched Kennedy coach his son.
“Billy’s been a friend for a long, long, long time,” Johnson said. “Billy was one of the first high level division one coaches to approach me about Avery Jr.”
Johnson said Kennedy still checks up on Avery Johnson Jr. from time to time. His son will not be able to participate in tomorrow’s game due to NCAA transfer rules, but Johnson said his son is excited for this game just like he has been for the rest of Alabama’s games.
Team co-captain Retin Obasohan said Avery Johnson Jr.’s role in preparation hasn’t changed much this week.
“Little A, he’s really good with just scouting in general,” Obasohan said. “I think he got that from his dad, and probably does because he’s really good with any team. It’s not just limited to Texas A&M.”
When the No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies visit Coleman Coliseum, Alabama will put its two-game winning streak on the line. Alabama picked up those wins against SEC basement dwellers Mississippi State and Missouri last week, and the Aggies will likely put up a much better fight despite the slump A&M has entered recently (the Aggies have lost three of its last four games).
Alabama could be shorthanded again, as Shannon Hale is once again listed as a game-time decision despite Johnson’s remarks that he could have played 15 minutes against Missouri if Johnson had decided to play him. When Johnson turns his attention to the opponent he sees a team filled with dangerous options.
“They have an outstanding roster and probably one of the best nine-man rotations we’ve seen all year,” Johnson said. “Danuel House and Jalen Jones are studs. If you try to play them a certain way, they can do something else.”
Win or lose on Wednesday, Alabama will need to leave the game against A&M in the past quickly as the Crimson Tide continues a stretch that could make or break Alabama’s post season hopes. On Saturday, Alabama travels to Florida before heading to LSU next week.
“We don’t have that many games left,” Obasohan said. “A lot of the season has been played. We know we got to take every game like its a championship game, but at the same time like you said this stretch is huge.”
For now, Johnson just wants his team to take it one game or maybe even one possession at a time.
“We have to just be concerned about what we’re doing,” Johnson said. “For us its not even about a winning streak, tomorrow is a single game and the most important game of our season and when that game’s over with and the clock strikes midnight then it will be the next one.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports