Gottfried: Steele looks good going into practices

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama is ready to begin preseason practices with Ron Steele back at point guard.

Coach Mark Gottfried said Steele has looked very good in workouts. He sat out last season to heal surgically repaired knees. The Crimson Tide opens practice officially Friday evening.

Besides having Steele back, Gottfried said he likes his team's athleticism and quickness. The biggest void from last season's team is power forward Richard Hendrix, who left for the NBA.

Among the contenders to fill Hendrix's spot is highly touted freshman JaMychal Green. Steele's younger brother, Andrew, also is among the newcomers. The Tide opens the season Nov. 16 against Mercer after playing two exhibition games.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)