Alabama Basketball: Trio of veterans quietly leading the way


Alabama basketball has notably been led by newcomers in the 2022-23 season, starting three freshmen and playing a fourth major minutes off the bench. In addition to this quartet of youngsters, transfer guard Mark Sears has emerged as Alabama’s second-leading scorer.

Although these first-year Bama players draw the majority of the headlines, a trio of veterans has been the heart and soul of the team throughout this historic season.

Charles Bediako, Noah Gurley and Jahvon Quinerly were the only returning players of note from Alabama’s disappointing 2021-22 season, and have assumed invaluable leadership roles this year.

Charles Bediako, despite being just a sophomore, has already started 54 career games. He is a blue-collar post player that isn’t very polished on the offensive end, but makes his presence felt on the glass. Bediako does a lot of his work around the basket, protecting the rim on one end of the floor and tearing it down on the other.

Gurley and Quinerly, the team’s only returning seniors, both come off the bench. Noah Gurley gives Bama a good reserve frontcourt presence that can also stretch the floor.

The maturity of guard Jahvon Quinerly has been something to marvel at. The former All-SEC guard has not been himself since tearing his ACL last March. Still, he has handled his situation with grace and humility. Although he has yet to start a game this year, he leads Alabama in assists per game (3.6) and has hit some timely shots in big moments. Quinerly will almost certainly be a difference-making factor in the postseason.

These three have lent their experiences to the younger players, and have been leaders both on and off the court. That leadership has been absolutely necessary, as this team has had to operate under nearly unprecedented circumstances.

Bama hoops has dealt with the cost of winning on the court, facing intense scrutiny and the pressure to perform. This pressure was juxtaposed with extreme turmoil off the court last month, when a young mother lost her life and the Alabama basketball players lost a teammate virtually overnight.

Noah Gurley, who regularly leads the team in prayer, was instrumental in helping the team through the initial phase of this difficult time. He continues to provide a reassuring and mature voice for the young players to follow.

Similarly, Jahvon Quinerly has been a stable force for his teammates to lean on. When Alabama was blown out at Oklahoma two weeks ago, Quinerly drew from his experience as a marquee player on Bama’s 2020-21 SEC championship team to remind the current squad of who they are.

Such an embarrassing loss could’ve easily compounded into a snowball effect with such a young team. Instead, Alabama basketball bounced back so fast they gave fans whiplash, beating Vanderbilt by 57 in its very next game.

Since the loss in Norman, Alabama has won all three of its games by double digits. If anything, it has looked even better than it did prior to the loss. The focus and one-game-at-a-time mentality of this team can be partially attributed to Jahvon Quinerly, a senior point guard who has experienced all the highs and lows of college basketball.

Next. History favors Bama hoops. dark

Although Alabama basketball is one of the youngest teams in the nation, I think they are in good hands with this trio of vets leading the way from behind the scenes.