By Chris DePew
Nov. 10, 2017
Where to watch: Alabama vs. Memphis – Today 5:30 p.m. Central, Alumni Hall (Annapolis, Md.), CBS Sports Network
Who to watch: John Petty. Bama fans have been waiting for a pure shooter who can light up the scoreboard seemingly since the late days of the Wimp Sanderson era. Those hopes now fall squarely on the shoulders of the freshman shooting guard from Huntsville. At his best, Petty is a slashing guard who thrives in transition and shoots a respectable percentage from behind the arc with the ability to heat up from 3-point range in a hurry. His challenge against Memphis will be getting points off the dribble without fellow freshman standout Collin Sexton available to set him up.
What to watch for: How deep a rotation Avery Johnson can field. Sexton will sit out the opener to satisfy the NCAA before joining the lineup next week, while Braxton Key, Riley Norris and Ar’Mond Davis are unavailable due to injuries. Depending on how conservative Johnson wants to be with redshirts, the Crimson Tide could play with as few as six scholarship players. More likely, Alex Reese and Galin Smith will join classmates Petty and Herb Jones in this game, although both have lots of progress to make before they’re ready for regular minutes in the SEC. That’s not as much of a problem against the Tigers, who have a strong brand name but haven’t made the postseason the last three years and figure to decline rapidly after a wave of offseason transfers. Bama just needs to survive tonight and get ready for bigger challenges with a more complete roster.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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