▪ Nate Oats has Alabama ranked as the No. 2 college basketball team in the country, but the Crimson Tide coach could not have handled this week’s situation with his star player much worse.
A legal hearing on Tuesday revealed that Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller delivered the gun used in the alleged murder of a 23-year-old female in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 15.
Now former Alabama player Darius Miles and friend Michael Davis are charged with capital murder in the shooting of Jamea Harris. After receiving a text message from Miles, Miller brought the murder weapon to the scene before it was used, according to testimony by an investigator Tuesday.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Oats said, “We knew about that. Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at wrong time.”
Seriously? Not only did Miller allegedly supply the gun he was at the scene of the shooting. The windshield of his car was hit twice with bullets, according to testimony.
Oats’ initial statement was so poorly received, the coach was forced to backtrack.
“I thought it was important for me to clarify the unfortunate remarks I made earlier,” said Oats in a statement released Tuesday night. “This entire time I’ve tried to be thoughtful in my words relative to this tragic incident, and my statements came across poorly.”
Miller’s teammate Jaden Bradley was also at the scene of the shooting. Both Miller and Bradley have played in each Bama game since the incident. Neither Miller nor Bradley has been charged, but still, Oats’ words and lack of any sort of suspension is a bad look for the head coach and his program.
▪ On the other end of the spectrum, shout out to Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams, who deserves SEC Coach of the Year honors. The Aggies went 8-5 in their non-conference schedule, including losses to Murray State and Wofford. Since then, Texas A&M is 13-2 in conference play. The Aggies knocked off No. 11 Tennessee 68-63 on Tuesday night in College Station.
Once No. 2 in the AP Top 25, Tennessee has now dropped four of its last five game, including that 66-54 loss at UK last Saturday.
▪ Yes, Louisville is 4-24 but the basketball Cards are much improved from the team first-year coach Kenny Payne put on the floor back in December. U of L upset Clemson 83-73 last Saturday at the Yum Center and hung with Duke before falling 79-62 at Cameron Indoor on Monday night.
The Cards travel to Georgia Tech (11-17) on Saturday, then come home to face Virginia Tech (16-12) next Tuesday. Both are winnable games.
▪ The NCAA is reportedly looking at four proposals to shorten the length of college football games. Three ideas are good. One proposes the elimination of consecutive timeouts. Another would keep the clock running after first downs, except in the final two minutes of games. A third would eliminate extending the first and third quarters for an untimed down after penalties.
The fourth idea is a bad one. It would re-start the clock once the ball is spotted after a pass incompletion. To me, that would mess too much with the game’s strategy, especially at the end of games.
Here’s an idea: Reduce the number of booth replay reviews in each game. Nothing messes with the flow of a game more than an unnecessary review. Those, as much as anything, are contributing to the length of games.
▪ Heading into the 2023 season, only eight college football head coaches in the FBS have been at their school longer than Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, whose first season at UK was 2013.
The eight: Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (hired in 1998), Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (2004), Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (2005), Middle Tennessee’s Rick Stockstill (2005), Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (2006), Air Force’s Troy Calhoun (2006), Alabama’s Nick Saban (2007) and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2008).
▪ Congratulations to UK’s indispensable Susan Lax, winner of the 2023 College Sports Communicators’ Achievement Award. Lax is the University of Kentucky’s director of athletic communications and the primary contact for Kentucky football.
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UK loses one of its leaders. Starting forward Leveretter out for season after tearing ACL.