Transfers spark new Alabama cultureBy Jasmine Cannon | 12/03/2012 11:00pm
This time last year, the Alabama women’s basketball team had team members who were not able to play due to NCAA transfer rules. The Tide has turned, per se, and Alabama fans are getting to see a new side of Alabama basketball.
Daisha Simmons, Briana Hutchen and Brittany Jack have all finally suited up and hit the floor for the Tide while making a big impact on the court and in the locker room.
Perhaps the biggest news of last summer was when Simmons and Hutchen announced their departure from Rutgers University and arrival at Alabama. Head coach Wendell Hudson said both were recruited by the Capstone while they were in high school and everything worked out when the two were looking to transfer.
“This was one of my top five schools coming out of high school,” Hutchen said. “The only bad thing I could say about it was that it’s so hot. When I decided to leave Rutgers, I went back to my top five schools. I went on my visit here and I felt so dumb because I fell in love with the school.”
“Just to come here and have a higher role and kind of a leader role, it’s just been great to have that opportunity, especially as a point guard,” Simmons said.
Simmons has wowed fans with her play as a 5-foot-10-inch point guard. The Jersey City, N.J., native is leading the Tide in minutes played and proves to be efficient on the court. She ranks first on the team in blocks and assists while placing second in rebounds. Simmons is also the team’s third leading scorer averaging 12.7 points a game.
“Daisy is a very, very good person,” Hutchen said. “I always tell her that she’s the best point guard in the nation. I tell her that everyday because she really is. I know that she’s going to lead this team to great, great places. She really is a floor general and we follow behind her.”
“What sets her apart is that she knows the game of basketball,” Hudson said. “Some players think about the next play, but she’s always thinking two or three plays ahead about what to do if this or that happens.”
Hutchen is a Baltimore, Md., native and has also found herself in a leadership role for the Tide. As one of the team’s captains – along with Simmons and Kaneisha Horn – she has started all five games she’s played in and is averaging nearly five rebounds a game.
Jack, a sophomore forward from Suwanee, Ga., came to Alabama from Samford University. She’s shown high energy and lots of communication while on the court.
“She gave up a full scholarship at Samford and came here having to work and not really knowing if she was going to get any [play time],” Hudson said.
Jack has started one game for Alabama and provides the team flexibility with her ability to play inside and out.
Alabama’s roster is comprised of other players who have made their way to the Capstone by way of transfer. Jessica Merritt, Alicia Mitcham and Meghan Perkins all transferred from junior college before making a splash at the University.
All of these players have played ample minutes and proved to be fit for SEC competition with their play last season. With a plethora of players with multiple skill sets, Hudson said he thinks his team has more chemistry than he’s had before. Players agree and they are ready to compete with the best.
“I know that our success is not by fault,” Hutchen said. “We’ve worked hard as a team to make sure that we are going to bring back great things to Alabama basketball.”