TONIGHT: Alabama, Arkansas State to play in Rocket City Classic at VBC

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- 'Tis the season for giving and for the first time since 1999,  Alabama head basketball coach Avery Johnson is bringing the gift of hoops to Huntsville. On Wednesday, December 21st, Alabama and Arkansas State will square off at the Von Braun Center for the inaugural Rocket City Classic.

A limited number of tickets are still available - check

Johnson said scheduling neutral site games like this one has been one of his goals since he first took over the program.

Rocket City Classic

"One of the things we wanted to do was not just recruit well and improve facilities," said Johnson. "We wanted to make sure we were scheduling properly and in scheduling properly, take our team strategically around the state. The Huntsville area is a very fertile area in terms of a recruiting bed and a hotbed for recruits, so not only just to impress our fan base but also for recruiting purposes."

Tide forward Riley Norris was once one of those recruits. The Albertville native will get to showcase his talents in front of fans in the Tennessee Valley once again.

"Well you know, that's one of the things we want to do for our players. Knowing Riley is close to home, it means a lot to him and a lot to his family and friends," said Johnson. "Even for a lot of our players that are from Alabama. That's a time when lots of moms and dads and uncles and grandmothers are off of work for the holiday season so they can come up and watch the game."

Tipoff at the VBC is on Wednesday at 8 p.m.