HUNTSVILLE | It came down to the final day of the late signing period, but Anthony Grant and the University of Alabama finally got its man.
Huntsville shooting guard Trevor Lacey chose Alabama over traditional powerhouses Kansas and Kentucky and in-state rival Auburn during a press conference at his high school on Wednesday.
At the end of the day, Lacey said Alabama felt like home.
"It's just home to me," he said. "I developed a great relationship with Coach Grant and the players. I have a good friend in Levi (Randolph) going there, and I felt comfortable with possibly being his roommate in the fall.
"When I went on my visit to (Alabama), the team welcomed me like I was a brother to them. That plays a big factor. When you go away from home, you want to be around people who will welcome you and embrace you."
When Randolph heard the news of Lacey's commitment to UA, he was just as excited if not more excited than his future teammate.
"I was at school today, and they told me he was going to Alabama, and I just started going crazy," Randolph said. "I started yelling 'roll tide.' I was excited."
Lacey, a five-star prospect who is ranked No. 24 nationally, joins Randolph as the fifth member of the Crimson Tide's 2011 recruiting class. Rodney Cooper, Nick Jacobs and junior college signee Moussa Gueye round out the rest of the class.
The Butler High School star has the ability to come in and make an immediate contribution next year, in particular as an outside shooter, but Lacey knows he has to earn it first and trusts the UA coaching staff.
"Coach Grant has a plan, and I believe in what he's working at," Lacey said. "I just hope to make an impact next year."
As a senior, Lacey averaged 31 points per game and helped lead Butler High School to the Class 4A state championship. He was named Alabama's Mr. Basketball after both his junior and senior year.
"They've got a winner now and they've got a young man who makes everyone around him better," Lacey's head coach Jack Doss said. "That's the key. He's a small Magic Johnson. There's nothing he can't do on the floor, and you want the ball in his hands.
"Alabama's getting someone that can lead them to a national championship. He's led us to three state championships, and it should've been four if he didn't hurt his knee. He has that potential to lead them to places they haven't been."
Lacey is scheduled to report to Tuscaloosa next week.
Reach Greg Ostendorf at email@example.com.