TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama head men's basketball coach Anthony Grant announced the signing of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, during the first day of the early signing period.
Center Jimmie Taylor and forward Shannon Hale are slated to join the Crimson Tide on the court for the 2013-14 season.
"We are very excited to have Jimmie and Shannon sign National Letter of Intent's with the University of Alabama today," Grant said. "They are both outstanding young men who come from quality families. They also have a passion and excitement level for Alabama and our basketball program."
Taylor is a four-star recruit and brings an inside presence for Grant's squad next season. The cousin of former Tide standout and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year (2002) Erwin Dudley, Taylor is rated as the No. 6 center in the nation and No. 30 overall prospect by rivals.com.
In March of 2011, he was selected to the USA Developmental National Team, and has twice been named as a 3A first team all-state performer. Taylor helped lead Greensboro High School to back-to-back Class 3A state titles in 2011 and 2012. Last season, the 6-10, 235-pound forward averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds while blocking 97 shots (5.4 bpg).
During his sophomore year, Taylor averaged 10.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.6 blocks a game. Taylor's performance in the 2011 state title game was a memorable one, as he nearly recorded a triple-double, collecting 15 points, 13 boards and nine blocks in the victory over Clarke County High School.
Taylor is also a standout in the classroom, as he has earned a spot on the school's honor roll throughout his high school career.
"Jimmie will provide for us the length and athleticism needed to be successful in the SEC," Grant said. "He is a perfect fit for our style of play, and understands what it takes to be successful winning two state championships at Greensboro High School."
Similar to Taylor, Hale, a 6-8, 200-pound power forward from Johnson City, Tenn., is another player who should help in the post next season. He is listed as a four-star recruit by rivals.com and is ranked as the No. 19 power forward and the No. 93 overall prospect by the same site. In addition, ESPN.com lists Hale as the No. 6 recruit in the state of Tennessee and as the No. 26 forward in the nation.
Prior to his junior season, Hale transferred from Science Hill High School in Tennessee to North Carolina's Christ School, which has produced a number of talented collegiate players, including Mason and Marshall Plumlee, both of which currently play for Duke. During the 2011-12 campaign at Christ School, Hale led his team to a record of 32-5 and an appearance in the North Carolina state semifinals. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a contest. As a sophomore at Science Hill, Hale averaged 15.9 points a game while helping lead the team to regular season, district and regional titles.
"Shannon provides great versatility for his size," Grant said. "He has an ability to play inside and out and like Jimmie is the type of player we target for how we want to play. Shannon also plays for one of the premier prep school programs in the country."