Have you heard? The Alabama men's basketball team will be better without Collin Sexton. That's what a selective number of so-called Bama fans/experts/backseat drivers have been saying, and I say it's hogwash. But there is good news for the Alabama basketball nation, despite Sexton's Friday announcement that he will enter the June 21st NBA Draft and turn pro.
First the bad news for the Crimson Tide: Coach Avery Johnson is losing 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assistants per game off his box score come this fall, and that, my friend, is some serious output. Despite a dry spell during the Tide's 5-game losing skid this past season when Sexton missed 15 of his 17 three-point shots attempted, the team will miss this playmaker, this motor that helped drive the team to it's first NCAA Tourney appearance in years. Sexton scored in double digits in 29 of his 33 games played, took it upon himself to beat Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament, and helped unite a group of young men that was perhaps not ready to take the next step.
Now the good news: Despite losing their leading scorer, the Alabama players, led by Sexton, discovered something: belief in themselves. This group of young warriors won over twenty games last season, the team made it to the Big Dance, it won an NCAA Tournament game, and if not for running into eventual national champion Villanova in the round of 32, was headed to a Sweet Sixteen birth. And now? The sky's the limit what with the return of hungry players such as Donta Hall, John Petty, Dazon Ingram, Herb Jones, Avery Johnson, Jr and Dan Giddens. Yep- these names with which you have become familiar will all return next season, offering the team a bright future.
As for Sexton, his future is limitless. Widely pegged to be a top ten NBA draft pick, the Mableton, GA native will star in The Association. Collin Sexton was a business major at UA with a perfect GPA of 4.0 (can you say President's List?). While the current Crimson Tide players and coaches look to the future without him, Collin Sexton just made the best business decision of his life.
Will the Crimson Tide be better without Collin Sexton? Well, not immediately. But as the current crop of Bama players continue to mature, they have Collin Sexton to thank for helping them believe again. If and when the Crimson Tide make the Sweet Sixteen or beyond, celebration will ensue- and for a brief moment, the players may just think of Collin Sexton and privately thank him for getting the Bama ball rolling again.