Avery Johnson, who won NBA Coach of the Year in 2006, had high praise for incoming Alamaba freshman point guard Collin Sexton.
Johnson, now the head coach of the Alabama men’s basketball team, also won an NBA Championship as a player in 1999. He has previously coached the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets, leading All-Star point guards like Jason Kidd and Deron Williams.
The former professional point guard took over at Alabama in 2015. He recently compared Sexton, a five-star recruit, to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
While the college is known more for its football program, the basketball team has produced some impressive talent over the years. Top players include Mo Williams, Latrell Spreewell, Robert Horry, Gerald Wallace and Antonio McDyess.
Sexton looks to be next in line in this lineage and has already shined as a high school star. He was a McDonald’s All-American, where he won the Slam Dunk Contest.
The Georgia-born basketball player also participated in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic and set the single-season scoring record while playing in Nike’s EYBL circuit, averaging 31 points per game.
He recently wrote about why he chose to play for Alabama and Johnson (via The Players’ Tribune):
“When he tells me that he knows what it takes, he’s not just saying it. He’s lived it. And he understands that it’s really, really hard to make it. What I appreciate most about Coach Johnson is that he’s not going to make it easy on me. He’s going to push me hard so that I can one day achieve the same things he did. And that’s why I committed to play for him at Alabama.”
After his freshman season, he will likely become a Top 10 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. This would be the first first-round selection from Alabama since Wallace in 2001.
While his coach has compared him to Lillard, it’s interesting to note Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman believes his professional projection is closer to Trail Blazers teammate CJ McCollum.
While incoming Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III is likely going to be the first player to hear his name at the 2018 NBA Draft, it’s possible a dominant year for Sexton could change that projection.