Birmingham ‘pro basketball’ full of Alabama-appeal
Professional basketball is back in Alabama, and the Birmingham Squadron has strong Alabama and Auburn flavor.
Former Tigers guard Jared Harper and former Crimson Tide guard John Petty Jr. play big roles for the NBA ‘G’ League franchise.
“The Squadron coming to Birmingham is putting a lot of shine and the spotlight (on professional basketball),” Petty Jr. said after a recent Squadron victory. “It’s amazing to see the growth into the state (of Alabama).”
Petty Jr. and Harper look to help the Birmingham Squadron plant strong professional basketball ‘roots’ in the state in much the same way both players had a hand in changing the perception of college basketball in Alabama.
At Auburn, Harper and the Tigers advanced to the “Final Four” of the NCAA Tournament in 2019.
Petty Jr. and Alabama reached the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
“It’s amazing. They Still look good,” said Petty Jr. of this season’s Alabama Crimson Tide team. “Coach Oats is still running this system the same way. It’s very efficient and it works. I’m just glad the new guys that have come in have bought in to what he wants them to do, and I’m proud of the older guys that were there with us last year that keep leading the younger guys.”
“It’s great thinking of all the hard work that we put in to try and help build the Auburn basketball program from the ground up,” Harper said. “Just to see all the recruits that we are able to get now, and the way the team is playing right now is great.”
In his most recent game, Harper scored a team-high 34 points as Birmingham (2-5) lost a close game to Oklahoma City, 124-117 on Monday night.