The official quote from Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried regarding Ronald Steele’s decision to return to the Crimson Tide for another season was that he was “obviously happy.”
I suppose it would have been inappropriate for Gottfried to say he was “jumping for joy” or “deliriously ecstatic.”
After all, the Tide coach had to consider Steele’s feelings, and right now his soon-to-be fifth-year point guard has to be feeling a little emotionally beat up.
Three years ago Steele was a sure lottery pick. Now he can’t find an NBA team that could guarantee he’d even be drafted, much less drafted in the first round.
That has to hurt a young man who sees guys his age who he knows he was, at one time, better than playing key roles for the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals.
There, but for a bad knee, could very well be Ronald Steele.
Instead, because of a bad knee that NBA coaches and scouts who’ve watched Steele since he was a senior in high school say is not 100 percent, Steele will be back for a fifth year at a school where he never really expected to spend a fourth.
A national basketball columnist wrote last week that Richard Hendrix’s decision would decide the future of Alabama basketball. The column essentially suggested that if Hendrix returned, Gottfried’s job would be saved, and if Hendrix left, Gottfried might as well put the “for sale” sign in his front yard now.