On Sunday, Justin Coleman makes his return to Alabama where he played in over 65 career games for the Tide. The former No. 46 ranked high school player has found his last college home in Tucson and is making the most of it. Averaging over 11 ppg for the 7-2 Wildcats. The jump for Coleman came at the most opportune time given Miller was depleted of a recruiting class for this year after losing Shareef O’Neal and Brandon Williams temporarily, we know what the outcome was here, Bear Down Brandon. Not to mention the whole starting lineup from last year is gone. The state of Alabama produces hard-nosed players being a football state. That is the tenacity Coleman brings every day although he is only 5’10. For Coleman, one of the biggest reasons for his move out west is Dylan Smith, who hosted him on his visit to Tucson. Smith is a native of Mobile, AL and has known Coleman since middle school.
Dylan Smith had a different path to Arizona. He was a skinny, short kid that played football and baseball until basketball started calling his name late in high school. The only school that recruited Smith was UNC-Asheville. He led the team in scoring as a freshman before transferring to UofA. Smith is also bred from the same toughness tree that Coleman is from and have formed a strong bond in Tucson. Together they are having the time of their life playing in Tucson for Sean Miller. A quote from Smith on the AZ Desert Swarm’s website talked about his reason for coming out to play for Miller.
I just wanted to be pushed… Coach (Sean) Miller pushes me. Growing up in Mobile, I feel like I can handle any situation I’ve ever been in. Coach Miller has pushed me in ways nobody else has. I feel like I’ve been able to withstand it and I feel like he respects me and I respect him for that because he never takes a day easy on me. – Dylan Smith
Both of these teams had disappointing games prior to this matchup. Arizona in the middle of a 50 game home winning streak against non-conference opponents on the line and Utah Valley up 12 at halftime. Arizona did take care of business in the second half blowing them out. them out. Alabama, however, blew a 22 point lead at home against Georgia State. Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide are going to have their hands full, especially with the homecoming for Coleman and Smith.