News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

In Steele's absence, Tide to call on Decatur's Pickett

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Only one month into his first semester of college, Rico Pickett has needed to figure out what books to buy, where his classes are — and the Alabama basketball team's offense.

A freshman point guard, Pickett probably will see more playing time than he might've expected. With senior point guard Ronald Steele returning, Pickett was expected to be a reserve. Instead, Steele will sit out the season as a redshirt.

After watching an evening television broadcast giving the news that Steele will rehabilitate his injured knees rather than play, Pickett’s mother called the Decatur High grad to tell him the news.

“I look at it as an opportunity,” Pickett said. “I hate that he is out for the season, but hopefully he will come back 100 percent.”

After Steele made his decision, Alabama coach Mark Gottfried called Pickett to inform him
that more would be expected this year.

“He needs to be ready to play,” Gottfried said. “This is a great opportunity for him. He has a lot of potential, but he is a freshman.”

Gottfried said Mikhail Torrance and Pickett will handle the point guard duties.

Brandon Hollinger, who filled in for Steele last year at times, will play more “off the ball,” according to the coach.

As a senior at Decatur High last season, Pickett averaged 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists a game in helping the Red Raiders to a 27-6 record and an appearance in the Class 5A state semifinals.

Pickett was The Decatur Daily’s Class 4A-6A player of the year as well.

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