This really wasn’t a good time for Alabama to lose four of its top six players.
The Crimson Tide (16-8, 5-5 in SEC) lost at LSU on Saturday with starters JaMychal Green, Trevor Releford, Tony Mitchell and key reserve Andrew Steele on the bench, out with suspensions. Instead of extending their win streak to four games, they dropped what should’ve been a relatively easy win. (“Relatively because nothing’s easy with that offense.)
But coach Anthony Grant had a point to make.
“The main thing right now for our guys to understand is the importance of making good decisions and understanding the consequences when you make poor decisions and then moving on from that and learning from that,” Grant said. “So we’re dealing with that. It’s disappointing and unfortunate that we have to deal with this in the middle of the season.
“It is what it is, so right now as a team we have to focus on the things we can control, and we have a very challenging game here against a very talented opponent in Florida. We have to get ready to play the game.”
Releford and Steele will “most likely” play tonight against the Gators. Green and Mitchell –who was suspended before the Auburn game last week – are still out. It’s the third time Green, an All-SEC forward and the team’s leading scorer, has been suspended. Grant might even remove him from the Tide.
“I’ll make some decisions on that later,” he said. “Right now my focus is on getting prepared for Florida.”
If ‘Bama is less than full strength against the Gators, it might get ugly. If Green and Mitchell are out for extended periods of time, they might just lose their next four games and end up out of the NCAA tournament.
That happens, Grant’s scheduled contract renegotiations may not go so well this spring. But it also doesn’t sound as if that bothers him.
“I know Anthony Grant about as well as anybody, and I think that he has got incredible integrity and character and knows exactly the way he wants his program run and what he’s going to do,” said Billy Donovan, Florida’s coach and Grant’s former boss.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.