Shannon Hale

Associated Press

Alabama forward Hale still recovering from foot injury

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With the team’s top three scorers from last season having moved on, Alabama will need increased production from junior forward Shannon Hale in head coach Avery Johnson’s debut season. Hale averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 28 games last season, of which he started 15. Unfortunately for Hale his season was cut short by six games due to a broken foot suffered in the first half of a win over South Carolina February 24.

Hale’s been working hard to return to full strength, but the process will take some time. According to Michael Casagrande of, Hale’s just begun to go through some half-court drills. It remains to be seen when the 6-foot-8 Hale will be able to return to full activity for the Crimson Tide, who are also working to get Michael Kessens back into game shape.

Forward Michael Kessens should be ready to play by the season begins, but he’s been out for a while. Johnson said he’s “slowly rounding into shape” and they need him to play a big role this year. “We’ve broken his body down physically and now we’re putting it back together,” Johnson said. “So he’s come a long way since I first took the job.”

Guard Retin Obasohan, who averaged more than 12 points per game over Alabama’s final 13 games of the season, is back and will give this young group some needed experience on the perimeter. But, if Alabama’s to hold its own in an SEC that’s gotten stronger they’ll need a full rotation in the front court as well.

And with Kessens and Hale still working towards getting back into a position where they can contribute in games, Alabama could be shorthanded when their season begins November 13 against Kennesaw State with a game at expected Atlantic 10 contender Dayton scheduled for November 17.

Alabama forward Shannon Hale to return after briefly considering transfer

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With Ricky Tarrant and Devin Mitchell already having decided to transfer in the aftermath of Alabama’s head coaching change, a third player who was considering a possible move will stay.

Forward Shannon Hale, who missed the Crimson Tide’s final six games of the season with a foot injury, will return to Tuscaloosa for his junior season according to Michael Casagrande of Hale’s decision makes him the leading returning scorer for new head coach Avery Johnson, as he averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest in 2014-15.

“There was a thought about (transferring), but not really,” Hale said Thursday after Alabama’s team banquet. “I didn’t want to transfer.”

Alabama won’t lack for depth in the front court next season, as in addition to Hale Jimmie Taylor and Michael Kessens are also expected back. What the Crimson Tide will need is help on the perimeter, as Tarrant, Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper were the team’s only double-figure scorers in 2014-15.

With that being the case, look for Avery Johnson and his staff (which has yet to be filled) to scramble for possible perimeter options during the spring signing period. One possibility is 6-foot-5 guard Dazon Ingram, who is expected to make his college decision on Friday.