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With the Alabama basketball season over, it’s time to look back at the season that was in Tuscaloosa. For starters, we are going to review each player, and for the ones coming back, we’re going to let you know what they need to improve on in 2013-14 in order for the Crimson Tide to live up to their potential next season. We are going by class, so we’ll start with the freshman, then the sophomores, juniors, and then finish it up with the lone senior.
Here’s the schedule:
4/4: Trevor Lacey
4/5: Nick Jacobs
4/6: Levi Randolph
4/7: Carl Engstrom
4/8: Moussa Gueye
4/9: Trevor Releford
4/10: Andrew Steele
Before the season started, I made the prediction that Trevor Lacey would be the Crimson Tide’s leading scorer this season. That looked like a pretty safe bet through the first three games of the season after Lacey scored 15 points including the game winning jumper against South Dakota State in the opener. He followed that up by scoring 23 points against West Alabama and 20 more against Oregon State in New York.
Through three games, Lacey was averaging nearly 20 points per game on 60% shooting from the field. But, after scoring 20+ points in two of the first three games of the year, Lacey eclipsed the 20 point plateau only one time the rest of the season. That came in a December road win in Lubbock over Texas Tech.
31.3 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 39 FG%, 37 3P%
He had some other strong games, most notably his 17 point performance in Alabama’s first win over Vanderbilt on the road since 1990. Lacey willed the Crimson Tide down the stretch of the game, bringing Alabama back from a double digit deficit with under eight minutes to play.
He was also the ringleader in Alabama’s furious late charge in their road loss to Ole Miss. Alabama got hot late in that game led by Lacey, who finished with 19 points. Alabama roared all the way back to come within a single possession before ultimately coming up just short against the Rebels in Oxford.
Still, it feels like we still haven’t seen the five-star Trevor Lacey we were expecting a year ago out of Butler High School in Huntsville. There still seems to be a lot of untapped potential for someone who was supposed to single handedly fix Alabama’s offensive woes.
Lacey was Alabama’s second leading scorer behind Trevor Releford at 11.3 points per game. He was the Tide’s leading assist man at 3.2 per game, and he took on more of a point guard role for the offense this year. He was the primary ball handler all season.
In my opinion, what hurt Lacey’s scoring and offensive performance overall was him having to play the point the majority of the time. He was too often having to worry about setting up the offense and getting looks for teammates, at times he didn’t even seem interested in trying to get a shot for himself. Lacey looked a little too unselfish this season.
A player with Lacey’s talent has no business shooting under 40% from the field. He is the most talented player on the roster, and he has the ability to be a lethal scorer, but he has yet to show that killer instinct. Hopefully we will get to see that side of him during his junior season.
Must Improve: Aggressiveness/Attacking the Rim
Anthony Grant needs to let Lacey know that, sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to look to create offense for yourself sometimes. Lacey has the potential to be one of the elite scorers in college basketball, and Alabama desperately needs him to become that if they want to improve upon their ranking of 275 in scoring this season.
I think I would rather see Lacey playing off the ball more in 2013-14. He’s a combo-guard, but I think he is more suited to playing the two instead of the one. I say let Releford play the point, and let Lacey play off the ball. Let Lacey run around through screens and try to get open looks for himself. Let Trevor Lacey be Trevor Lacey.
Also, Lacey needs to improve in attacking the basket. Too often this season when he went to the rim, something bad happened. More times than not it was either a missed shot or a turnover. Lacey’s 2.3 turnovers per game led the team, and that’s a bit too many for someone who averaged just a little over 3 assists per night.
If Lacey can improve on scoring when contested at the rim, then his all around offensive game will reach a new level, and he can untap his potential to be the elite scorer we all know he can be.
He has the best pure jumpshot on the team, and he, like Rodney Cooper, has the ability to become a dead-eye three point shooter. If the two of them can do that, then Alabama will finally have some shooters on the wings that will hopefully dissuade opposing teams from playing so much zone against the Crimson Tide.
Lacey’s progression this offseason is vital, and if he can take that next step and become that “killer” that Alabama has lacked on offense for a while, then maybe Lacey’s prediction for next season isn’t so far fetched.
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