What does Collin Sexton mean to Alabama basketball?


Collin Sexton is one of the most exciting players in the nation. What does he mean to Alabama basketball in 2018 and beyond?

Collin Sexton is the brightest star not on a top-seeded NCAA Tournament team. The New York Times said the Alabama basketball freshman is “arguably the best player in the nation.” Even without embracing such expansive praise, the consensus is he will be the top point-guard taken in the next NBA Draft.

Without him, Alabama basketball would not be ‘Dancin’ this season or maybe the next season and the following one. The Sexton hype has fueled Avery Johnson’s recruiting efforts for the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes.

If Robert Williams had swatted away a normal finger-roll last Thursday, the Tide’s future prospects would be very different. Woodward was in perfect position to defend the rim for the Texas A&M Aggies. Collin Sexton neutered him. Sexton’s teardrop shot was so perfectly executed, Woodward had but two choices. Either block it for a sure goal-tending call or watch helplessly as it settled softly in the twine.

Neither time nor distance mattered for Collin. Racing the length of the court in less than 4.4 seconds was no problem. Neither was an off-foot takeoff from the foul line. The play was as beautiful as Tua to Smitty on 2nd-and-26.

The shot saved the game, an NCAA tournament bid and perhaps Avery Johnson’s college basketball coaching future.

Former Bama Hammer contributor, Wesley Gullet said this about the ’18 Tide team.

"There have been times when I thought I disliked this Bama team, and times when I thought I loved them. Easy to get caught up in the moment, but reality is that Bama has the 4th youngest D1 basketball team in America. Only 9 teams were their equal in Q1 wins. They’re Dancing"

Young teams are mercurial

Wesley is correct that even very good young teams give fans reasons to rejoice and recoil. As good as Collin is, he had growing pains. Late in the season, his perimeter shooting was poor. It has taken time for him to learn how to integrate other players into the Sexton-driven Tide offense.

His greatest attributes have been consistent throughout the season. Those attributes are unwavering confidence and fearlessness. The Tide also benefits because its biggest star is also its hardest worker.

Another former Bama Hammer contributor, Bobby Martin summed up 2018 Alabama basketball in one sentence.

"All Alabama needed was someone to make the team believe."

All season, Avery Johnson has done a commendable job trying to get his young team to believe. In the SEC Tournament, Collin Sexton showed his teammates how to believe. Alabama basketball, despite its youth and frequent flaws, will not be an easy team to beat in the NCAA Tournament. Certainly, it will not be easy for Virginia Tech, perhaps not even for Villanova.

At the end of one to six more Alabama basketball games, Collin Sexton’s Crimson Tide career will end. Any disappointment over the shortness of his time in Tuscaloosa should not bring despair. The magic Collin Sexton has brought to Alabama basketball will spin on with new stars and more NCAA Tournament rewards.

Next: Tide makes claim as 'DBU'

In case you missed it, Collin Sexton was named to the SEC All-Tournament team. He was joined by three players from Kentucky and one from Tennessee. There is no truth to the rumor Bruce Pearl was named the coach most ready to rumble.