Alabama had no commits in its Class of 2017 on Thursday morning. By Thursday evening, Avery Johnson had a pair of four-star, in-state recruits give their verbal pledge to the Crimson Tide.
Herb Jones, a 6-foot-7 guard from Hale County High (Alabama), was the first to commit, announcing his decision on Twitter. He picked Alabama over Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida.
Three hours later, Alex Reese, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Pelham High (Alabama) — 65 miles away from Jones’ hometown of Moundville — also used his Twitter account to announce the news. Reese picked the Tide over Arizona State, Cincinnati, Georgia and UAB.
The duo had visited Tuscaloosa the past weekend. Jones, rated No. 72 overall in the Class of 2017 by Rivals, is one spot higher than Reese.
Jones played for the Alabama Challenge this spring and summer, averaging 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16 appearances in the Nike EYBL. Reese was part of Team Carroll, playing in the adidas Gauntlet. He posted averages of 12.0 points and 5.2 boards per game.
In Avery Johnson’s brief tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide have secured three commitments from four-star recruits — the other being current freshman forward Braxton Key. The Tide are looking at what could be another long season in the SEC, but Johnson’s success on the recruiting trail is a positive sign, especially in a conference where several schools have upgraded its coaching staff, which has thus improved its recruiting.
Johnson, the former NBA Coach of the Year, went 18-15 (8-10 SEC) in his first season in the college ranks, settling for a 10th place finish in conference.