University of Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats made two statements on Friday night, one with fashion and one with action.
Oats, sporting a plaid jacket borrowed from former Crimson Tide head coach Wimp Sanderson, paced his way through most of a quick one-hour version of Tide Tipoff, the introductory event for both the men’s and women’s teams at Alabama.
“It was good to get in front of our fans and have a little bit of fun,” Oats said. “I’m not a huge fan of the dunk contest and so forth. I’d rather have something with a scoreboard out there. We had a little intrasquad scrimmage this morning which was good, gave us something to look at on film. We’ve had a really good week of practice.
“I probably practiced them a little too hard this morning, took their legs out for the dunk contest, but that’s OK.”
Junior forward Herb Jones was the dunk contest winner. Freshman Jaylen Forbes teamed with Brittany Davis of the women’s team to win the 3-point shooting contest.
Oats was asked about his expectations for the upcoming season and said the Crimson Tide “should make the NCAA Tournament.”
“I don’t have any set number, any x-number of wins in mind but if we aren’t the hardest playing team out there, then I’ll feel like I’m not doing my job.”
The Sanderson-era plaid jacket was a nod to the success of that era in Alabama basketball, Oats said.
“I thought I’d give a little throwback to the Plaid Palace,” Oats said. “Wimp gave me the sports coat. He’s been really good to me since we took the job (last March.) I tried to get him here tonight, but he was out of town. But I think it was enough to get the message across, that we want to get back to winning like they did when Wimp was here.”
Alabama will have a closed-to-the-public scrimmage (reportedly against Jacksonville State) this weekend and will host a charity exhibition against Georgia Tech at noon on Sunday, October 27. That will be part of a doubleheader with the women’s team facing Auburn-Montgomery in an exhibition at 2:30 p.m.
“We are ready to play somebody else,” Alabama forward John Petty said. “We’ve been battling each other, sharpening each other since June. We’re ready to see somebody else.”
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