The 2016 NBA Draft is fast approaching. One player, Retin Obasohan, from The University of Alabama has the possibility to be selected, but Crimson Tide fans don’t seem to care.
Alabama is a football state, and the University of Alabama is a football school. Those are widely known statements, even outside of the southeast. Though many fans rarely discuss it, The Crimson Tide actually has a basketball team too – two, in fact.
Both men’s and women’s teams at Bama are SEC teams, but there is little fanfare surrounding either team. Sorry girls, but women’s basketball doesn’t get much publicity anyway. As for the men’s team…well, there hasn’t been much to discuss the past few seasons either.
The arrival of Avery Johnson as head coach last year looked promising, and in the 2015-2016 season, the Tide went a “meh” 18-15 (.545) overall, and a disappointing 8-10 (.444) in the SEC.
Senior standout Retin Obasohan of Belgium was the only consistent news-maker on the team.
The 6’2″ guard averaged 17.6 points per game and had a 47.1 field goal percentage. No, Bama fans, Obasohan wasn’t kicking field goals for the football team (though sometimes Adam Griffith probably wishes he would have). A field goal is a basketball term used to describe any shot other than a free throw. 47.1 is a little below what most consider to be a “good” percentage of shots made, but Retin was also decent defender.
The NBA draft is coming up at the end of this month. Projected to go 147th out of 150 picks according to CBSSports, Obasohan would be the first Crimson Tide player selected in the NBA draft since forward Richard Hendrix in 2008 – 2nd round, 49th overall. (Fun Fact: Hendrix never played a single NBA game).
So, if Bama has a player projected to actually be selected, why aren’t more Alabama fans discussing the NBA draft the way they did the NFL draft?
Because no one much cares.
Unfortunately, even when Alabama basketball has done well in the past, the majority of Crimson
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Tide fans just weren’t interested. Some have said that football “wears us out” and fans cannot take the emotional investment that following another team would involve. Others say they don’t really understand basketball the way they do football, so they just don’t watch it. And of course, there are always those that say they only want to cheer for the “teams that win”.
Hopefully, the University of Alabama can find a way to tap into the crazy fandom brought out by the football team, and transfer that excitement to basketball. The atmosphere itself CAN be exciting in Coleman Coliseum for big games, especially those against rival SEC schools like Auburn and basketball-school Kentucky.
Never seen an Alabama basketball game? Check out this video. The only thing that’s a little depressing is the number of fans present for the game. Bryant-Denny Stadium is always packed out, even for cupcake match-ups. Don’t we owe it to our basketball team to show them as much support as football?
Head coach Avery Johnson certainly has the capability to put together solid, winning teams if given the understood amount of time it will take to truly build a program from the ground up.
Maybe fans should try harder to support all of our University’s athletic teams. Who knows? If fans show up, teams other than football might get excited enough to work even harder for those wins. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Bama won national championships in as many sports as possible? Most of us would agree that it’s great to be on top and earn those bragging rights in football…and who wouldn’t enjoy getting to do that all year long?
The 2016 NBA draft will air Thursday, June 23rd live on ESPN. Tune in and cheer on Retin Obasohan as he seeks to become the Alabama Crimson Tide’s first draft pick in eight seasons.