HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- It's been over two weeks since Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson was introduced at a press conference filled with family, friends and players.
And throughout these past two weeks, there have been plenty of eye-opening moments for Johnson in his first experience as a coach at the collegiate level.
Without giving too many details, Johnson said he is focused on "changing the mindsets and habits" of everyone associated with the basketball program.
"We have a lot of work to do internally before we can be the external product publicly that I want us to become," Johnson said during a Crimson Caravan stop in Huntsville.
While the internal overhaul may take some time, Johnson has made strides in completing his coaching staff.
Johnson recently hired Providence assistant coach Bob Simon as his associate head coach. Simon joins Antoine Pettway, who was retained from the previous staff. Of Simon, Johnson said he met every criteria he was looking for in a coach.
"He did such a good job with recruiting and talent assessment and helping with the schedule, which is big for us because our schedule is incomplete, especially our (non-conference) schedule," Johnson said. "He's good with details. Just a terrific basketball coach and a lifer."
Along Simon, Johnson also retained strength and conditioning coach Lou DeNeen. While he didn't have a previous relationship with DeNeen, Johnson said it was an easy decision to bring him back after interviewing him and seeing him work with the players.
"His energy level, his intellect and him being open to change about some of the new ideas that I'm bringing to the table, he was very receptive to them," Johnson said. "It made all the sense in the world to retain him."
Johnson said he hopes to have another assistant coach sometime next week.
Along with filling his staff, Johnson has also been tasked with putting together a complete roster. He recently signed Mr. Basketball Dazon Ingram out of Theodore, Ala. Along with Ingram and two other 2015 signees, Alabama has 10 scholarship players for the 2015-16 season, which leaves two open slots.
Johnson said there's a "pool of guys" the Tide is looking at with hopes of getting some on campus before their final decisions. Johnson said the Tide is considering all options, including fifth-year transfers.
"Fortunately, I know quite a few of those guys because of my time in the media," Johnson said. "I probably watched more college games last year than I had in the previous five or 10 years. So I know a lot of those kids. We're getting information and calling around and interviewing coaches who have coached those players. And relying on some of my old media folks that have covered their teams to give me some insight on them.
"Whatever resource we can use to help us improve our recruiting and adding players to help the depth of our roster, that's what we're going to do."
For future recruiting classes, Johnson has his sights set on some of the blue chip prospects, particular those in the state of Alabama. While he can't name names because of NCAA rules, Johnson hopes his hiring will change the mind of top-level recruits when it comes to Alabama basketball.
"We love the talent in the state. I think it's very plentiful," Johnson said. "We have our eyes on some guys, and we'll see where it goes. A lot of the young players that are in the 2016 and 2017 class are guys that we have our eyes on who maybe would have told the University of Alabama 'no' years ago. Hopefully, they'll tell us 'maybe' and hopefully some will tell us 'yes.' "
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.