Coach Anthony Grant announced Monday that sophomore guard Trevor Releford and senior guard Andrew Steele would "most likely" be available for the Crimson Tide (16-8. 5-5 SEC) in Tuesday night's 6 pm CT tip-off against the No. 14 Florida Gators (19-6, 7-3 SEC), a game which is slated to be broadcast by ESPN. Grant made no mention of if or when senior forward JaMychal Green and junior forward Tony Mitchell would re-join the team. All four players, who were starters, were suspended last week by Grant for conduct detrimental to the team. It was a highly publicized move that made national headlines.
Other than announcing the return of Releford and Steele, Grant said very little else about the situation. He seemed more intent on discussing the Tide's upcoming opponent.
"I think Florida hits you with skill at four or five positions that puts different guys on the floor and creates match-up problems," Grant said of Tuesday's opponent. "With the way they run their offense, it makes it difficult for you to make sure you cover all the territory that needs to be covered. We will have to use as much time as we can to make sure our guys understand personnel and understand the adjustments we will need to make."
It is unknown whether Releford, who leads the Tide with over 12 points a game, or junior guard Ben Eblen will be in the starting line-up tomorrow night. Eblen started in place of Releford at the point guard spot in Saturday's 67-58 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, a game which saw freshman guard Rodney Cooper lead the Tide with a career-high 28 points, while freshman forward Nick Jacobs had 14 points, one shy of his career best. Both freshmen are expected to continue to receive significant playing time in place of Mitchell and Green.
Billy Donovan's Florida Gators, who had five players averaging double digits in points per contest, are coming off a 75-70 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. They are led in scoring by Kenny Boynton, who is averaging 17.5 points a game. His biggest offensive assistance comes from Bradley Beal, who averages 14.4 points and over 6 rebounds a contest.