January 20, 2011

Tide signees react to UK win

The Alabama Crimson Tide men's basketball team has steadily improved under head coach Anthony Grant during his first season and a half in Tuscaloosa but many believe the program took a major step forward Tuesday night with a momentous 68-66 home win over the 12th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The nationally televised game represents a marquee victory for Grant in his second year with the Tide and according to some of the Tide's 2011 signees, the game was an encouraging sign of things to come.

"It was big and showed what Coach Grant is going to be able to do at Alabama. It's going to be very exciting," said Alabama signee Rodney Cooper. "I texted him after the game and told him congrats on the big win. I'm not surprised by this really. It's a big win but I knew we were going to get better as the season went on. You can see all the work paying off. Everyone should be exciting."

Shooting guard Levi Randolph agreed with Cooper's sentiment that the win was not so much an isolated upset but an indicator of how far the program has come.

"I watched the whole game and even though everybody seems amazed that they pulled it off, to me it wasn't an upset," Randolph said. "Alabama looked like the better team out there to me. They play strong defense and if they can knock down their shots, they can really beat anybody."

"I think defense was the difference. Alabama got after it and played hard every single possession on the defensive end of the floor."

Rivals150 member Nick Jacobs said he was impressed with the intensity the Tide showed throughout the game as well as Grant's aggressive game plan.

"Alabama came to play that's for sure. They played their hearts out and put everything on the line and came away with a great win. I was definitely impressed," Jacobs said. "We are a tough team to beat at home. Overall I love how they get to the rack and attack the basket. They played smart and didn't turn the ball over. And they hit the big shots to seal the game. It was great coaching by Coach Grant and a great win for us. This team is doing a great job this year. I love the direction the program is going."

Also impressive to the Tide signees was the atmosphere in Coleman Coliseum, where the Tide is 10-0 this season.

"That atmosphere was crazy. It's good to see the fans getting behind the program," said Cooper.

"Watching that game got me really excited for playing next year," said Randolph. "Everybody was into the game and Coleman was packed out. The atmosphere was incredible and I think that played a huge part in the game too. I can't wait to be a part of that."

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