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February 7, 2011

Tide basketball beginning to get some attention

TUSCALOOSA _ The University of Alabama men's basketball team has started to get a little attention, both in the Southeastern Conference and nationally.

Monday morning, point guard Trevor Releford was named SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 14.5 points, 6.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals in wins over Mississippi State and at Tennessee.

"I'm very happy for him," Coach Anthony Grant said. "Trevor's done a very good job for us as a freshman, of what's been asked of him, especially in our league. To come in and play the minutes he has and had the kind of responsibility he's had he's handled it extremely well.

"In my opinion he's one of the best young guards in the league if not the country. We're extremely happy to have him on our team."

Florida's Chandler Parson was named SEC Player of the Week after he averaged 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in wins over No. 23 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Kentucky.

Overlooked was Alabama forward Tony Mitchell, who had a career and game-high 23 points against Mississippi State and topped that with 24 at Tennessee, but averaged 6.5 rebounds.

It's the second time Releford has received the honor (Dec. 20), which has been dominated by Kentucky's Brandon Knight (won four times) and Terrence Jones (three), and Tennessee's Tobias Harris (three).

Against the Bulldogs he had 16 points and had a career-high eight assists and eight steals. The assists led to 20 points and the steals four points while accounting for 40 of the Crimson Tide's 75 points.

At Tennessee he shot 50 percent from the field again while scoring 13 points and made a pair of free throws in overtime to seal the Tide's third SEC road win of the season. He also added a team-high four assists and played 42 minutes, including the entire second half and overtime.

"Every game brings a different challenge and for Trevor every team is a new experience that he hasn't experienced before, no matter where we are," Grant said.

The Crimson Tide also received votes in both weekly polls, 21 in Associated Press balloting for 31st and eight votes in the coaches' poll for 34th.

It's the first time Alabama has received votes this season. The team hasn't been ranked since the 2006-07 season.

As the Crimson Tide (15-7 overall, 7-1 SEC) continues to climb into contention for the NCAA Tournament, having won 10 of its last 11 games, its RPI jumped up to No. 94 (depending which rating service is being used).

Alabama is at No. 23 Vanderbilt on Thursday (8 p.m., ESPN/EPSN2) and hosts Ole Miss on Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network). Outside of visiting No. 17 Florida on March 1, the Commodores are the only ranked team on the Crimson Tide's schedule.

"They're very deep," Grant said.


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