Trevor Lacey, two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of Alabama and the best available player in the country, signed with Alabama over Auburn, Connecticut, Kentucky and Kansas on Wednesday -- the last day of the signing period.
"It was a very difficult decision because I had great choices," Lacey said. "My relationship and trust with [Alabama coach Anthony Grant] set the Crimson Tide apart. I also feel the University of Alabama will provide the best opportunity for me when basketball is over. I love the people in Alabama."
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound ESPNU 100 SG from S.R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Ala., is a flat-out winner. He has led his high school team to three state championships and has the ability to facilitate winning, which makes him such a vital recruit.
"Trevor is all about winning and possesses the ability to affect winning in a variety of ways," Grant said. "He possesses tremendous skill and talent, but what is most impressive is his character and IQ."
Lacey's primary strength is to score and he does it without hunting down shots, which is a sign of maturity on the floor. Over the course of his career he has also demonstrated the ability to hit open 3s and midrange jumpers whether he is spotting up or running off screens to free himself. However, what makes the No. 39 overall player in the 2011 class such a strong player is that he does not need to have the ball in his hands to be effective. He is comfortable deferring to his teammates by dishing out an assist, freeing up someone with a screen or locking down the opponent's best scorer.
Not only are the Crimson Tide getting a great basketball player, they are getting a great person who takes pride in his roots. In fact, he missed out on an all-star game in Houston at the Final Four to play in a charity event in his hometown of Huntsville to raise money for the local Boys and Girls Club.
"Trevor has made an impact in the state of Alabama with his basketball and community work. He takes pride in the state," Grant said. "We are excited to have him and welcome him to the Alabama Crimson Tide family."
With the addition of Lacey, the Crimson Tide jump up the class rankings to No. 13 from No. 25. He joins fellow ESPNU 100 recruit SG Levi Randolph (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones), PF Nick Jacobs (Atlanta, Ga./South Atlanta), SF Rodney Cooper (Seale, Ala./Russell County) and C Moussa Gueye (Mattoon, Ill./Lake Land College). Lacey and Randolph are very talented and interchangeable. When they are on the floor at the same time or subbing for each other, they can swing between the point guard and shooting guard spots. Cooper, a lefty, can knock down shots from deep, while Jacobs and Gueye give the Crimson Tide some nice size inside.
On the heels of an NIT championship appearance last season, coupled with this incoming class, Grant is turning Alabama into a power in the SEC.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.