Anthony Grant and the Alabama basketball team picked up two big signees on National Signing Day. Although National Signing Day typically revolves around football players signing their national letters of intent, it also marks the opening of the early signing period for basketball. Jimmie Taylor and Shannon Hale both signed their letters of intent to play for the Crimson Tide next year.
Taylor is a 6-foot- 10, 210-pound center out of Greensboro, AL. He is ranked as a four star recruit by both Rivals and ESPN. He is also ranked as the number one overall player in the state of Alabama by ESPN. Taylor was recruited heavily by national powers Louisville, Kentucky and Georgetown. He had offers from Georgetown, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but chose Alabama.
Upon first impression, Taylor is reminiscent of former Tide player Chuck Davis. He is a bit undersized to play center in the SEC, but is a very versatile forward. Much like Chuck, his ability to move around the paint will play a major role on both sides of the ball. Jimmie Taylor should be a great compliment to Alabama’s physical guards and quick forwards like Devonta Pollard.
Shannon Hale, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward from Johnson City, Tenn. is also a consensus four star by Rivals and ESPN. ESPN ranks him as the sixth best player in the state of Tennessee and Rivals ranks him as the 93rd best player in the nation.
Hale has a great jumper for a big man and has great ball handling skills for his size. Although he is a smaller forward, he could move over to play guard if needed. His speed and ability to finish in transition could be a valuable asset to Alabama’s struggling offense. Anthony Grant seems to recruit players like Hale to play down low. Although they give up some defensive presence, they make up for it with athleticism.
Both Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor could see action in their freshman campaigns next year. As players like Rodney Cooper, Levi Randolph and Trevor Lacey prepare for their departure from Alabama in a couple years, Hale and Taylor will be critical in the transition process.
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