By (Matthew Speakman)

When Retin Obasohan departed from the Alabama men’s basketball team, coach Avery Johnson knew he needed someone to step up and fill the big shoes Obasohan left behind. Early into the Crimson Tide’s fall practices, Johnson thinks Corbin Collins is starting to do just that.

The graduate transfer could replace Obasohan’s piece to the puzzle.

“Corbin Collins had a nice off season,” Johnson said. “He’s gelled with the team. He’s filling a leadership role that was vacated by Retin Obasohan’s absence. The guys actually follow him. He’s a great leader.”

Collins, who transferred to Alabama from Morehead State, is getting used to the team and the players on it. As his leadership role has developed, he said he attacks practice with same mentality each time, to show the players that he is committed.

“It’s just me making sure I come in everyday ready to work,” Collins said. “I’m trying to lead by example and be vocal. It’s making sure I go hard at everything that I do so the younger guys can see it, and the older guys as well.”

Alabama added three transfers, a junior college transfer and a freshman recruit to the team for 2016. With the change in environment comes a new coach to learn from and new teammates to play alongside.

So far, Collins believes Johnson’s coaching style has already had an impact on him.

“He’s awesome and he really loves to teach,” Collins said. “He is all about teaching. Nothing is going to go unknown with us in practice. Whenever anybody has a question, they’re going to ask and he is going to explain to the best of his ability.”

Along with Collins, graduate transfer Bola Olaniyan joins the Crimson Tide from Southern Illinois.

While Alabama struggled to rebound last season, ranking last in the SEC in that category, Olaniyan put up consistent numbers on the glass, grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game. His physical presence on the inside is something the team is looking forward to having.

“He’s a hard worker in the weight room or on the court,” junior Riley Norris said. “He never complains. He is a great rebounder. That is something we need.”

Olaniyan and Collins are some of the names both Norris and Johnson mentioned when talking about the newcomers. Joining them is junior Armond Davis, sophomore Daniel Gibbons (who will sit out the 2016 season per NCAA rules) and freshman Braxton Key. The team also gets Nick King and Avery Johnson Jr. eligible this season, after sitting out last year.

Key was a recruit most schools wanted, having a four-star rating and ranking 68th in the country. He comes from the Virginia basketball factory of Oak Hill High School, a place known for putting out players such as Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

Norris believes Key’s maturity and intelligence sets him apart.

“He is really smart and has a really high IQ,” Norris said. “You wouldn’t be able to he’s a freshman by just watching him in practice or playing in a game, just because he seems really mature for his age.”

Alabama and its band of newcomers will tip off its season at home on Nov. 3 against Faulkner in Coleman Coliseum.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports