UAB Basketball is off to a very nice start to their offseason. After losing in the Semifinal Round of the 2021 C-USA Tournament, the Blazers will look for better success in year two under new head coach Andy Kennedy.
UAB as mentioned previously was defeated in the Semifinal Round of the C-USA Tournament as the Blazers fell to eventual C-USA Runner-Up Western Kentucky 64-60. While the season did not end the way that they intended under new coach Andy Kennedy, the Blazers had a phenomenal regular season as they finished 2nd in the C-USA West at 13-5 while also going 22-7 overall.
Looking ahead to next season, however, the Blazers appear to be reloading their roster. UAB will return talent from this past season’s team, and with the addition of two SEC transfers already, you could make the argument that the UAB Blazers are already the early favorite in C-USA next season.
The Blazers got their first commitment of the offseason a few days ago as Ole Miss transfer KJ Buffen announced he was transferring to UAB to play for the former Ole Miss coach.
Buffen, a junior, has continued to see improved play during his three seasons with the Rebels. Buffen averaged 8.4 PPG and 4.5 RPG for the Rebels in 2020 on 49.7% shooting from the field. While Buffen didn’t necessarily blow you away with stats playing in the SEC, he did average a career-high by far in 3-point percentage shooting 38.9% in 2020-2021.
UAB also received a commitment from Auburn transfer guard Jamal Johnson. Johnson, a junior, spent two seasons at Auburn after spending his freshman season at Memphis during the 2017-2018 season.
Johnson averaged a career-high 9.4 PPG for the Tigers this past season, while also improving in a few other key areas as well. Johnson is a consistent 35% shooter from two and three-point range, while also shooting a career-high 73.1% from the free-throw line this past season.
These two players bring not only experience to the Blazers next season, but experience against elite competition. Buffen and Johnson were both rotational players for some of the SEC’s top teams the previous seasons, and will certainly shine in C-USA next season. Don’t necessarily count out both Buffen and Johnson averaging around 15 PPG next season at UAB.
The UAB Blazers were talented during the 2020-2021 season, and are already reloading after adding SEC transfers KJ Buffen and Jamal Johnson. While it is still early, UAB should be considered as a favorite in C-USA with Buffen and Johnson being two of the better players in the conference.