The Alabama Crimson Tide is coming of a 64-56 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night. While the game was never really in question, there were times where the Tide looked shaky. The same can be said about most of the games that ‘Bama has competed in this year. While it has been frustrating to watch at times, I do believe that Anthony Grant is getting as much mileage out of his talent as he can.
It is easy to point out all of the negative things about this team, and perhaps this has been done ad nauseum on Twitter, the message boards, and in the blogosphere. But today, let us focus one of the bright spots of this team. Alabama point guard Trevor Releford is having a great year, and if not for him, who knows how this season would be turning out.
Trevor leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. He is the one player for the Crimson Tide who can consistently create shots for himself off the dribble. Releford has a knack for finishing plays consistently, especially around the basket — no easy task for someone who stands only six feet tall playing in major college basketball. He is at his best, however, when in transition, as he is able to consistently finish plays or draw fouls.
Releford averages 32.4 minutes a game, the most of any player for the Tide. He also averages 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and only 1.8 turnovers a game, showing that he does a little bit of everything for the team. Trevor also leads the team in free throws attempted (121) and percentage (81.8 percent), making him not only our best, but our most efficient scorer.
His three point percentage has drastically improved from last year as well. In 2012, Trevor shot an abysmal 27% from beyond the arc, and never looked completely confident in his shot. This year is a different story; he leads the team in that category, shooting 39.2%, and looks more natural shooting the ball. He clearly made this a priority in the off season, and it is paying dividends this year.
I am not sure where Trevor Releford stacks up against other great Alabama point guards, but he definitely deserves to be mentioned among the best. His innate ability to score reminds me of Mo Williams; his superb ball handling ability is reminiscent of Ronald Steele; and he has an overall impact on the game as a difference maker much like Antoine Pettway did. If the Crimson Tide is to make a run in the SEC Tournament, it will be on the back of Trevor Releford. His play is more than deserving of a First Team All-SEC selection, and he is making the case for being one of the best all-around point guards in college basketball this year.
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