November 2, 2010 7:38:00 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- JaMychal Green hopes a year older translate to better things for the University of Alabama men''s basketball team.
Green already has taken care of the bigger portion of the equation.
The junior forward added 15 pounds to his frame in preparation for a 2010-11 season that kicks off at 7 tonight when the Crimson Tide play host to Talladega College at Coleman Coliseum.
The game is the first of two exhibitions (vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 8) Alabama will play before its season at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 against Florida A&M.
For Green, a 6-foot-8, 233-pounder, the matchup will be a chance to show William Brown, the coach at Talladega College and his coach at Montgomery St. Jude High School, how much he has matured in the two-plus seasons he has been at Alabama.
The 2008 McDonald''s All-American, who also was the state of Alabama''s Mr. Basketball, averaged 14.1 points and 7.2 rebounds last season as Alabama went 17-15 last season''s in coach Anthony Grant''s first season as head coach.
Green, who earned the team''s Hustle Award for post players, is one of four returning players who earned time in the starting lineup.
"I think the biggest thing for JaMychal is his maturity as he grows," Grant said. "He''s a young man that came in with expectations placed on himself by himself and by others," Grant said last month at Southeastern Conference Media Day. I think last year, like everybody else, it was an adjustment for him from everything we did from on the floor to off the floor. I think there was some growth that needed to take place. I''ve been extremely pleased with the improvement he''s made over the summer. I think he''s matured on and off the floor, and I think he''s poised to have a great season for us."
Green feels the Crimson Tide have the potential to make a big run this season. He feels the team has a weapon at every position and a batter feel for Grant''s pressing style of basketball.
Green, who is targeting 240 pounds this season, also believes the extra weight he added in the offseason has helped his confidence and improved his strength. He said his strength was one of his "downfalls" last season, and now he is confident enough to battle on the blocks and to offer to play at the front of an aggressive trapping brand of ball rather than in the back of the press.
"It is something you have to prepare for (mentally) and you have to be in great shape to do it," Green said. "You can''t take plays off with coach Grant. You have to work hard on the defensive end because he is a defensive coach."
Green hopes to display a more polished offensive game that can help the Crimson Tide improve on last season''s finish that saw the team lose 12 games by nine points or less, including three in the Southeastern Conference by one point.
"I think we were very close last year," Green said. "It came down to us not getting key stops, or making a turnover, or not making a big shot."
The coaches, who included Green on the preseason All-SEC second team, believe Green is primed to do that, and Green wants to show he is ready -- even if it is at the front of the press.
"Wherever coach puts me I will be ready," Green said. "He changes me from the five (center) to four (power forward) at times, so when I am at the four I have to get the job done. Being a leader on the team you have to do it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.