Alabama Basketball adds one to '19 class, as Lewis and Watford wait

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ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 10: Avery Johnson the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide gives instructions to his team against the Kentucky Wildcats during the semifinals of the 2018 SEC Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 10, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Alabama basketball coach, Avery Johnson got its first ’19 commit in SF, Diante Smith. While Avery waits on Kira Lewis and Trendon Watford, he has other options.

Alabama basketball will have at least four roster slots available in the ’19 signing class. It could be more. Nationally the massive, annual exodus of basketball players via transfer and early NBA entry grows larger each year.

Despite freshman seasons showing more promise than polish, Herbert Jones and John Petty could exit if they show more of their obvious potential as sophomores. Jones is valued as high as a first-round pick in some current mock drafts. Apparently defensive fundamentals and a zest for using them still count for something in the NBA.

The 2019 big names being sought by Avery Johnson have a long list of suitors. Trendon Watford and Kira Lewis are two of the best high school players from the state of Alabama in a long while. For most of the last year, recruiting experts had Alabama as Watford’s leader. Always lurking were Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and others. After Memphis hired Penny Hardaway, the Tigers supplanted the Tide as the favorite.

It took more time for Kira Lewis’ skills to become well known. Now he, like Watford, is being pursued by Indiana and Kansas. He has visited Kentucky and has been a Wildcats fan. So far, Calipari has not extended an offer. Alabama basketball was not the first school to offer Lewis. Samford was first, followed by Auburn. He now has close to 30 offers from top programs.

Avery and Antoine Pettway have been on the trail of Watford and Lewis longer than most schools. Insiders say strong relationships have been established. Alabama basketball fans will wait and hope the relationships can hold back the basketball blue bloods.

Avery’s other targets

Commits

  • Diante Smith – 3-Star, SF from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Smith is compared to John Petty in size and athletic ability. He is an above average outside shooter as well.

Primary Targets (other than Lewis and Watford)

  • Jaykwon Walton – 4-Star SG from Montgomery, AL

Walton has become a hot prospect over the past few months. He is purportedly very interested in Alabama basketball. His 20 offers include eight new ones in the last 60 days. The Tide is in his list of seven leaders, with Georgia, Auburn, Louisville, Memphis, Florida and Mississippi State. Memphis and Hardaway appear to be a major threat to Alabama basketball.

  • Austin Crowley – 4-Star CG from West Point, MS

Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State appear to be the top teams for Crowley. Memphis could also be a factor is Hardaway pushes him for a commit.

  • Jaylin Williams – 4-Star PF from Brantley County, GA

Georgia is predicted to have the best chance with Williams. Alabama, along with Auburn, Louisville, Tennessee, Xavier and others are trying to change that indication.

Avery is chasing a bunch of talent. The ’19 class could be huge for Alabama basketball. If not, it could still be very good.