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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:
4/11: Levi Randolph
4/12: Carl Engstrom
4/13: Moussa Gueye
4/14: Trevor Releford
4/15: Andrew Steele
With Andrew Steele ailing for much of the season, Alabama needed another “glue-guy” to step in and fill the void. Enter Levi Randolph, who was a do it all player for the Crimson Tide in 2012-13. Randolph had an up and down year, but he was one of the most important players on the Crimson Tide’s roster.
He wasn’t a big time scorer, but he did a lot of the little things to help the team win games. He did, however, have some strong scoring performances. His strongest showing came against Mississippi State in Starkville where he scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds.
There was a time during conference play where Randolph lost all confidence in his offensive game and shot a putrid 13-of-55 (24%) from the field over an eight game stretch. Randolph was able to find ways to contribute even when his shot was off.
30.2 MPG, 8.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 43 FG%, 34 3P%
Randolph’s numbers tell the tale and show how vital he was to the team. He was the team’s fourth leading scorer, second leading rebounder, and he was third in both assists and steals. His shooting percentages were a major upgrade from a year ago as well. His field goal percentage went up from 38% to 43%; his three point percentage went up from 27% to 34%; and his free throw percentage went up from 59% to 72%.
Randolph made some major strides as an offensive player from his freshman to sophomore season, and hopefully we will be saying the same at the conclusion of his junior season.
He came alive offensively in the NIT where he was Alabama’s leading scorer in the three games. He led the way in all three contests as the Crimson Tide made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT before being eliminated by Maryland.
He scored 13 points against Northeastern, 16 against Stanford, and 15 more against the Terps. He averaged just under 15 points per game during the tournament while shooting 56%.
Randolph’s bread and butter isn’t scoring, though. He hustles on every play, plays strong defense, and is a terrific rebounder for his size while being a threat to score. Randolph is the player everyone needs on their team to be successful.
Must Improve: Shooting
Even though he took a step in the right direction in his sophomore season in terms of shooting percentages, he still has to get better to make Alabama’s offense more dangerous. Randolph gets a lot of open shots from the perimeter because teams don’t view him as much of a threat to knock down shots from there.
I would say that a significant amount of his three point attempts this year were wide open, so while his 34% shooting ranked third on the team, and is respectable in its own right (Marshall Henderson shot 35%); it needs to go up to make teams come out and guard him.
Improving on perimeter jumpers is something the entire team has to work on in order to become better offensively. Zone defenses have plagued the Crimson Tide for the last few years simply because they don’t knock down enough outside shots.
If Alabama can become a good shooting team, then their offense will take it to a whole new level with teams being forced out of zones and into man defenses. Man-to-man defenses would allow Trevor Releford to do what he does best in attacking the basket, and would also allow Alabama’s offense to go through Nick Jacobs on the block more often.
The 2013-14 Crimson Tide is a squad full of potential, but guys like Levi Randolph must work hard this offseason for the team to reach the heights it is capable of.
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