SAN DIEGO — Alabama basketball coach Nate Oates was excited for Javon Quinley to have a chance to play against Notre Dame given what he showed up in the volunteer shootout Thursday night.
“I shoot it really well,” Oats said. “I thought he was ready to play, and three minutes into the game he hurt his knee, and he can’t play the rest of the match.”
That was problematic on multiple levels. Quinerly was the only player who went to the voluntary shoot that night. The next morning, only three players showed up for another voluntary shooting round. Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis were the other two Oats mentioned.
So most of the team members chose not to participate in either opportunity to practice shooting prior to the inaugural Crimson Tide game of the NCAA Tournament.
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More team attendance won’t necessarily translate into Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame on Friday. Alabama lost 78-64. But it’s not a good reflection of the general dedication of this team that finished the season four games in a row.
“Our key guys got the most shots, and they got the bulk of those shooting times,” Oates said. “But JQ was the only one who came last night.”
Oates said most teams have given up on their 20-minute shooting times, but Alabama decided to keep their time and make it voluntary.
Alabama shot 26 of 64 shots from the field (40.6%) against Notre Dame and was 8 of 24 (33.3%) from a 3-point range. Crimson Tide made four out of 7 shots (57.1%).
“We made it voluntarily because we wanted the guys to be smart to make sure their legs were fresh,” Oats said. “And some guys had gone the night before and he didn’t. Then he went. We had our high school gym shooting times every night here because our guys go into the gym a lot alone at home. He shot really well last night.”
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Oates said he felt the team’s maturity wasn’t quite what it was in the 2020-21 squad.
“So the buying process was there for most of the time,” Oates said. “We certainly didn’t have the experience Notre Dame had with their guys who played a lot of matches. Just maturity and experience, those things go a long way.
Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: _NickKelly.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama Basketball Players Skip NCAA Voluntary Shooting Tour