Alabama Basketball Opponent Preview: South Alabama Jaguars

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama basketball looks to continue the momentum it built in its lopsided win over Liberty last Friday when it takes on the South Alabama Jaguars on Tuesday night.

The Jaguars are 1-1 on the season. They defeated the University of Mobile (NAIA) by a score of 97-59 to open their season before dropping a competitive 80-74 contest at New Mexico.

South Alabama has a rebuilt roster after losing its top four scorers from last season. The current Jaguars team is primarily led by newcomers, with a trio of transfers and a true freshman leading the charge thus far.

Lead guard Isaiah Moore started for three years at Division II Franklin Pierce University before transferring to South Alabama. Through two games, Moore has been the Jaguars’ best player. He is averaging 16.5 points and 9.0 assists per game, and is coming off a 19-point, 13-assist, 7-rebound performance against New Mexico.

VMI transfer Greg Parham gives South Alabama a legitimate scoring guard. Parham had over 1,000 points in four years at VMI and averaged a career high 18.4 points per game in 2021, along with four boards and four assists per game. After missing the 2022 season with an injury, Parham seems to have returned to form. He is currently averaging 13 points per game, shooting over 60 percent from the field and making half of his three-point attempts.

Florida Gulf Coast transfer Kevin Samuel gives the Jags a big body in the paint. He played three years in the Big 12 for TCU before transferring to FGCU last season. Samuel has a lot of playing experience, having started 130 career games (mostly against Power Five competition). He averages 9.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game in his career. Through two games this season, he is averaging 13.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 3.0 BPG. Samuel is a handful, and will provide the biggest test yet for the deep frontcourt of Alabama basketball.

Freshman guard Jamar Franklin has also provided a scoring punch. Franklin is averaging 12 points per game and has shot 55 percent (6-11) from three-point range.

While South Alabama has some quality pieces, they should not be able to compete with Alabama basketball for 40 minutes. The talent gap between these rosters is evident from top to bottom.

Still, college basketball is one of the most volatile and unpredictable sports in the world. Unlike football, upsets are always possible regardless of the perceived talent difference.

Alabama basketball had difficulty focusing in such games last year. It beat South Alabama by just a five-point margin (73-68). It also won close games over Drake and Jacksonville State, and lost to quality mid-majors Iona and Davidson.

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This season, Alabama looked completely focused in a similar game against Liberty, running the Flames out of the gym. Tonight’s contest against South Alabama will provide the team with an opportunity to show it can consistently perform at this level.