Alabama's highly rated class highlighted by Sexton, Petty

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Avery Johnson's first full recruiting class at Alabama is rated among the nation's best.

The second-year coach announced a five-player group Friday that's highlighted by five-star guards Collin Sexton and John Petty.

''Wherever we're ranked, it's the No.1 class in my mind,'' said Johnson, a former NBA player and head coach. ''Wherever we're ranked nationally, that's great. But this is a huge day for us.''

He's not far off in his personal rating since Scout and Rivals rate the class No. 2 nationally, which is the program's highest recruiting ranking. The early signing period ends Wednesday.

Rivals rated both Petty and Sexton among the nation's top-25 prospects.

All five were rated among the 100 best, including guard Herb Jones and forwards Alex Reese and Galin Smith.

Sexton announced his college choice Thursday on ESPN, choosing Alabama over schools including Kansas and North Carolina State. Petty also picked the Tide over more high-profile hoops programs like Kentucky, Kansas and UConn.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pounder from Huntsville, Alabama, made his decision public at halftime of his high school game Thursday night.

Sexton is a 6- 2, 182-pound point guard and consensus Top-10 player nationally from Mableton, Georgia. He was selected MVP after helping Team USA win a gold medal in the FIBA U17 Championships last summer.

Sexton averaged 28.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals as a junior.

''He's a stud,'' Johnson said. ''He has that Kyrie Irving type of game. Six-one, 6-2, good body. Can do it all. Can shoot the 3. He has a knack for getting to the free-throw line, which I like. He shoots 88 percent from the free-throw line. And very competitive. All of our guys are very competitive on the defensive side.''

Petty is Alabama's reigning Mr. Basketball, averaging 19.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season.

Petty, Jones and Reese are regarded as the state's top three prospects.

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