| MBB/WBB Coleman, the rebuild, and a point I've tried to stress.

Brandon Van de Graaff

A defensive deity, inventor of the Concussion.
Ivory Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2004
Messages
22,547
Reaction score
2,294
Points
0
My questions on an entirely new arena (built where Coleman is now), is how much more money would it take? And, how much longer would it take to demo/build it? I know the option of building elsewhere on campus property was explored, but if that's only being done to save on-campus play in the season during construction, then it probably isn't worth the trade off. Personally, I'd have much rather the baseball field had been moved a few years ago if they were going to move stuff around.

Also, I know there has been a push by some boosters (who are helping with the finding) for more of total rebuild, but Byrne appears pretty dead set on something similar to the original proposal. I'm ok with whatever at this point. I trust Byrne will do it right if it follows the baseball model. And I trust that Oats will have a say in how it is done. I've said before that the baseball rebuild fell short of my expectations, but that wasn't on Byrne's watch. I think he'd do a good job with Coleman based on his approach and his history. Regardless, the team is going to have to play for a season in B'ham unless they want to pile into Shelton State or Foster (which actually would have worked out ok during this pandemic year with limited fans). Neither rebuild option would have an impact on the practice facility, you guys sort of lost me there.
 

TerryP

Thread Starter
Cenosillicaphobiac
Ivory Club
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
47,672
Reaction score
14,083
Points
0
@Brandon Van de Graaff

If Coleman is razed that means they're going underground how far to replace the foundations? How much does that impact? The main portion I'm talking about being in place is underground. (It's funny to me seeing oats say 90% of this is for the fans when discussing the latest project.)

Personally, I was happy with how they did on the baseball field. The nostalgia was still kept and what they've done in right field brings me back to my days.
 

Brandon Van de Graaff

A defensive deity, inventor of the Concussion.
Ivory Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2004
Messages
22,547
Reaction score
2,294
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
The baseball field isn't awful by any means and it is night and day better than what it was. I love the nostalgia and the homage to Rickwood with the lights. All the practice and player facilities are great (like basketball). IMO, they just missed the boat some on the overall design and aesthetics. Like you said, most everyone else was extremely pleased with it, so I'm definitely an outlier.

On Coleman, the renovation/rebuild would be all about game day atmosphere and better fan experience, which are both awful in terms of SEC standards right now. Oats isn't going to make a public fuss about it, but he was promised it and wants it too. But yes, it is mostly about the fans though when it boils down to it. As far as the underneath part, the basketball and gymnastics practice facilities are attached to Coleman on the backside and connected to the main arena by a corridor unless I'm completely crazy.
 

TerryP

Thread Starter
Cenosillicaphobiac
Ivory Club
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
47,672
Reaction score
14,083
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
They're going to doing even more work down there when this gets rolling. I haven't seen the plans but know a few who have and they've been really impressed with what UA plans to do with the new offices on the south end 🏀

Back on the player amenities the women and the gymnastics teams are getting new locker room/meeting areas: impressive stuff for the recruiting end of things as well as game days.

It's my opinion a lot are going to have to see the new bowl in order to believe how "intimate" it's going to be in the end.
 

UAgrad93

Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
9,456
Reaction score
4,051
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
My opinion is strictly from the coaching side of it. As a former HS coach, I have dealt with those headaches of having to share facilities and scheduling when my team got floor time and when they didn't. It is a SUPER pain in the ass!!!
I understand the "cosemetics" of the outside of what you are talking about. You have to peel back the top layer though to see what is really going to catch the attention of kids. Again, from the coaching experience, I've heard kids come back from visits and listened to what they had to say about the facilities for different schools. They talk about the lockerroom, weightroom, training room, practice facilities, and stadiums/courts. It's basically in that order as well.
Not bashing you or your opinion, just letting you know another side.
 

50+yeartidefan

Touchdown Club
Joined
Jan 29, 2017
Messages
8,531
Reaction score
3,869
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
My last and final comment...these things are like the flu...just wont go away sometimes...lol

first...I respect all opinion....see things from different angles...that said....

the whole is the sum of the parts...period...and all those things recruits coming back and speaking with you about...wont be diminished...but enhanced...!,

and....maybe its time to have a bball ONLY palace,...just throwing it out......
Dont have to share with any other...football does...and a practice field..inside on and outside one... to expensive.... really nothing is....to expensive...if it works...
I just wannasee bball elevated in all aspects....approaching football level...which never will be....i know..

great topic..lot of passion.....
Last comment on such......for me...

Ready for spring football
Roll Tide
 

rick4bama

Bama Fan since 1965 and counting....
Scholarship Club
Joined
Oct 16, 2004
Messages
16,902
Reaction score
3,260
Points
0
Thanks to you that gave me and other something to read about the rebuild.
 

XXL TideFan

Don't go there
Bama Club
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
3,199
Reaction score
1,336
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
Brother I don’t usually direct a lot at you because....hell, I’m a grouchy old man too. Football is the profit generator for the entire athletic program(guessing). Basketball can be but I don’t think it is yet. ROI is always the driving factor. If you are building something build it for the most bang for your buck, besides I have to trust the people tasked with it. Intimidating to say the least.
 

UAgrad93

Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
9,456
Reaction score
4,051
Points
0
Please, Log in or Register to view quote(s).
This is traditionally the case in HS sports!!! Depending on how successful the basketball was, depended on just how much or how little football had to float them. Your non revenue sports are the ones that really latched on to the purse strings of football though, like track, golf, tennis. When I was a HC in baseball, we supported ourselves with fundraisers, gate receipts, etc.
 

UAgrad93

Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
9,456
Reaction score
4,051
Points
0
This comes from an article in The Athletic. It's pretty long, so I'll have multiple posts.

The practice gym is available all day, every day. Put your finger on the reader for a scan and in you go. Nate Oats still finds this incredible. There’s even the slightest hint of wonder in his voice, nearly two years into the job as Alabama men’s basketball coach, that his team can work whenever it wants to work. Oats and his staff can examine every shot attempt and tell the shooter how and where he’s missing it, but that technology is arguably less amazing to him than simply having a space where nobody and nothing gets in his way.

At his last stop, midday power-walkers circled the concourse during Buffalo practices. One court in the rec center was supposed to be reserved for hoops at all times but only sometimes was. Players might arrive late at night to shoot, only to discover something like a table tennis tournament complicating the endeavor. “They’d be calling me, ‘Coach, I can’t get on the floor, there’s stuff going on,’ and then I’d be having to call,” Oats says on a drive home in early February. “I don’t have any of those calls here.”

He says he hasn’t heard “no” often during his brief time in Tuscaloosa. For one, Oats didn’t want to be the new guy making demands. Mostly, though, Alabama already had so much. It’s a place fairly defined by how it strives for absence: of need, of want, of insufficiency in all pursuits. The mindset led to the university investing in a years-long and continuing mission to lift itself into the conversation of nationally elite state institutions. Among the ongoing sub-projects in the wider ambition is basketball.

Oats runs the nation’s sixth-ranked team, racing toward March with a propulsive modern offense and elite defense, a rapid rise to national relevance based largely on the premise that what you get out of something is what you put into it. The program has been subsumed into the university’s prime directive. Alabama being good is a tautology, according to Alabama, and basketball is not exempt.

“Our expectation here is to be great in what we do,” athletic director Greg Byrne says, “and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

A few years ago, Alabama set its sight on becoming great at being a university of higher learning. The goal, as the analogy went in a New York Times story published in 2016, was to climb to the same plane as the University of California at Berkeley or the University of Michigan or the University of Virginia. It was a competitive endeavor not unlike what its alums were accustomed to in the realm of college athletics. The school had to build lots of shiny stuff. It had to find and support the best leaders. It had to woo the best talent from all over the country, hoping a record of success would lead to more of that best talent enrolling annually.

The new stuff might be labs and dorms and not weight rooms, the leaders might focus on research grants and not nickel defense packages, and the talent might have superior standardized test scores as opposed to robust star ratings from recruiting services. But the overarching philosophy was familiar. To transform into a destination public university, Alabama had to invest in itself and sell itself aggressively, while creating an experience in Tuscaloosa that lived up to the talk. “If you’re on our campus, we have continually been opening buildings month after month after month over these last few years,” says Dr. Stuart R. Bell, Alabama’s president since 2015. “So when I have alums come in and say, ‘I don’t remember that building being there,’ I’m like, ‘Chances are it wasn’t.'”

Interpreting and debating the results may be best left to the academics. But per school figures, Alabama has spent $1.61 billion on major construction projects since 2015, creating 2.55 million gross square feet of space on campus. It has broken its own record for external funding for research for seven consecutive years, and the number of full-time faculty has increased by 14 percent since 2015. The school ranked fifth nationally in the number of National Merit scholars (796) enrolled in 2019. While it might sound like material best left for glossy brochures or those reverent commercials rolling during televised athletic events, effects do follow cause. Bell says Alabama has roughly 42,000 applications for roughly 7,000 spots in the incoming freshman class.

“To be the best requires something different today than it did five years ago, and it’ll be something a little different five years from now,” Bell says.
 

UAgrad93

Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
9,456
Reaction score
4,051
Points
0
Which brings us to the men’s basketball program, and the ongoing efforts to budge into conversations about the best.

It hasn’t often come close to that. Alabama has had empirically good years, notably a period under the watches of C.M. Newton and then Wimp Sanderson from the mid-1970s through the early ’90s featuring 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven runs to the Sweet 16. The Crimson Tide have reached one Elite Eight, in 2004, and have never been to the Final Four. It’s not a place without history, but it is a place that’s not enjoyed historically great men’s basketball moments. It has not been, to stretch the analogy, Michigan or Virginia in this regard.

The current group is taking its shot at changing the paradigm; if you don’t remember Alabama being this good, chances are it wasn’t. Hence the contract extension delivered to Oats, 46, just last week, before his second year at the helm is even complete, with the deal now running through the end of the 2027 season and lifting his compensation clear of the $3 million a year mark. A nod to the deft button-pushing Oats and his staff have done in 2020-21, for sure, but also a statement about the investment the school is making in its expectations of excellence. “When we hired (Oats),” Byrne says, “I said we’ll continue to grow you and grow the program as time goes on, and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”

On the floor, the implementation and execution of a free-flowing, analytics-heavy offense aren’t entirely beside the point; getting a group to do what you want, and do it well, requires a coach to be good at his job. But Alabama played fast and shot a lot of 3s last year and is doing both of those things again this year, if only slightly more effectively (24th in adjusted efficiency this season versus 37th last year). It’s understandable why people would conclude this is the reason the Crimson Tide have won 18 of 23 games and 13 of 14 in the SEC and have a commanding lead atop the league, but it undersells how deftly Oats and his staff grew the operation into a national contender.

This is the people variable in the equation: Coaches made decisions, strategic and otherwise, that might’ve submarined the effort had the strategies failed or broke badly. They didn’t. And here Alabama is.

Of all the endeavors that fall into this category, transforming Alabama into an elite defensive unit is the most consequential, and oddly the part for which Oats doesn’t get quite enough credit. The Crimson Tide ranked 114th in defensive efficiency in his first season; they started this week ranked second nationally in that department. It’s not a philosophical accident. Oats’ best Buffalo teams were edgy and unrelenting on that end of the floor, and the raft of long, interchangeable pieces on the Alabama roster suggested something similar could be done in 2020-21. This requires buy-in, though. And it’s much easier to get kids on board to play fast and shoot quickly than it is to persuade them to get in a stance.

Some of it is attributable to savvy personnel maneuvering. Landing forward Jordan Bruner as a grad transfer was about locating and inserting a linchpin on the defensive end as much as anything; Yale was 18 points better per 100 possessions with the 6-foot-10 Bruner on the floor in 2019-20. Some of it is simply reinforcing the principle during offseason preparation, like any coach in any program might. “There would be days where it would just be all defense,” sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford says. There are persnickety film sessions in which Oats and the staff identify poor rotations and missed assignments. “Just because someone missed,” junior guard Keon Ellis says, “doesn’t mean we played good defense.”

But a good part of it, too, was selling a vision. Burrowing into a player’s mind and leaving behind an idea that the player can’t shake. It’s how you turn Jaden Shackelford, Freshman Liability, into Jaden Shackelford, Sophomore Who Likes to Play Defense, with a little help at home from Dad.

In his first season at Alabama, the 6-foot-3 guard had a defensive box score plus-minus of minus-0.2, per Basketball Reference. “Shackelford wasn’t a very good defender last year,” Oats says, “and that might be an understatement.” One of the subjects of the standard coach-player debrief last spring was the imperative for Shackelford to become more reliable on that end. Oats framed it in a way to which most former top-100 recruits would respond: It was what Shackelford needed to do to put himself in the best position for a basketball life after college.

At home, while training remotely during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shackelford made defensive drills a staple of workouts with his father. Improved lateral quickness was a top priority, so the younger Shackelford slid across the floor with weights strapped to him. It says quite a bit about the message Oats was able to drive home; he essentially informed a player that his basketball health depended on drinking more milk, and the player bought it. “You usually don’t go into the gym saying, I’m about to do 50 defensive slides, close-outs, stuff like that,” Shackelford says. “But, I mean, once you do it, it pays off. Trust me.”

Upon Shackelford’s return to campus, the process evolved into more assiduous and pointed film study, and the ability to exploit tendencies as a defender. His goal now is to draw on-ball charges as often as he can, and he wouldn’t be able to accomplish that goal without an intentional approach to preparation. “If I’m closing out to a guard that loves to attack with the ball and re-attack?” the sophomore says. “If he’s a strong right, I’m going to close out, step to the left. If I cut him off, he’s going to drive again and I’m going to take a charge. There’s a lot to it, but at the same time, it’s just guarding your man.”
 

Top Bottom