It was less than eight months ago when a talented yet extremely underachieving Alabama team that was struggling to create offense already lost its most critical weapon in its most important game of the season against Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Early in the first half, Jahvon Quinerly, who often times last season felt like the entire offense, went down with a devastating knee injury that wound up being a torn ACL.
Predictably, Alabama’s offense struggled for the remainder of the game and the 6th seeded Crimson Tide were, for lack of a better word, embarrassed, 78-64 by the 11th seeded Fighting Irish and a once promising season was ended much earlier than anyone had hoped. To many’s surprise, Quinerly elected to return to school for his senior season.
Originally, the hope was that “JQ” might be able to return to action by December and the start of conference play. But according to Nate Oats, he had been practicing for the last couple of weeks and on Monday evening they had a talk that concluded with essentially, “what are we waiting on?” Quinerly returned to game action Tuesday night, seeing some minutes towards the end of Alabama’s victory at the Mitchell Center against South Alabama.
Quinerly has been open about the fact that he planned on making the jump to the NBA at the end of last season, and that obviously his injury changed things regarding his plans. Last season, he played in every game and started 27 out of the 33 as a crucial part of the team, and it will be interesting to see how coach Oats gets him involved in a much deeper guard rotation this season.
Nonetheless, the team is certainly glad to have him back and he instantly provides a morale boost. The Crimson Tide offense, which has stagnated a bit to start the season, could absolutely use a player like Quinerly to command the floor and get things in order. This team has the potential to be special this season, and getting back one of their best offensive weapons and leaders will go a long way towards making that happen.