Alabama basketball: One shining moment to come?

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at the future for Alabama basketball and some football players returning from injury. 

The college basketball season stumbled to a finish Monday night, with Gonzaga more or less throwing away the title to North Carolina in a stilted, ref-heavy affair. But more importantly than that, let’s talk about next season.

USA Today ranked Alabama 18th and Sporting News placed Alabama as No. 21 in their respective “way-too-early college basketball rankings,” thanks to a promising recruiting class. The class that coach Avery Johnson has signed, ranked No. 4 in the country, is led by 5-star prospect Collin Sexton (and one scholarship remains).

Most importantly for the degenerates in the readership, you can now get odds on Alabama’s inevitable national championship run: 80/1, according to the AP’s “official odds provider,” which I just learned was a thing.

As Chris Walsh writes, the buzz around Alabama is growing, and rightfully so. When Johnson arrived, he pledged to make the program like Duke, to recruit top-tier basketball talent, to “get some one and dones.” He’s done at least one of those already, possibly two. It’s a long road to all three, but it’s a worthy objective.

Also of note, South Carolina and Kentucky’s performances in the NCAA Tournament are enough to put nearly $2 million in each SEC team’s budget for the next six years. 

ICYMI

  • Get an update on some injuries and the “depth chart” in Aaron Suttles’ practice report.
  • And see Bo Scarbrough’s return from injury yourself:
  • Former promising running back Ronnie Clark tore his Achilles twice in practice. Now, he’s back on the team as a tight end/H-back and impressing his coaches.
  • He’s just one part of a tight end unit with rare depth and talent. 
  • In this week’s edition of Please Won’t This Story Just Die, Ryan Anderson’s publicist says his client did not, in fact, ask Deshaun Watson to leave the bar some have described as “Irish Cracker Barrel.” (h/t Brian Oliu).
  • Jalen Hurts’ biggest weakness is his passing game. How can he improve?
  • Meet the new wide receivers with Roll Bama Roll.
  • Nick Saban was downright cheerful at the beginning of his press conference — usually a sign of a satisfying practice.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4_2QYRADAQ 

Built by Bama

It’s time for the last wave of pre-draft NFL team meetings, where players try to impress the unpredictable GMs and coaches who will decide their futures. Reuben Foster is meeting this week with Arizona, which is optimistically thinking he might fall to 13th, thanks to off-season shoulder surgery. Since he appears to be progressing well, that seems unlikely, but you can’t blame the Cardinals for dreaming.

O.J. Howard is meeting with the dregs of the NFL who will draft in the single digits: Chicago (third), Jacksonville (fourth) and Carolina (eighth.) It’s unusual for a tight end to be drafted so high, but the idea of Howard teaming up with Cam Newton in Carolina must be intimidating for opposing defenses, as revolting as it may be to some Alabama fans.

Elsewhere, former Alabama golfers Stephanie Meadow and Gavin Moynihan were given grants from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland.

Around the Capstone

Terrin Waack of the Tuscaloosa News turned up some interesting tidbits from the Gym Tide’s trip to the Morgantown regional, including eventual floor winner Aja Sims’ late addition to the lineup. Also in that notebook, coach Dana Duckworth makes a nod to the team’s good fortune to have qualified for the national championship meet.

The softball team is hampered by medical issues, including a pair of ugly head injuries. Alabama is down a starting second baseman and the third pitcher in the rotation headed into a crucial run of SEC games. The Crimson Tide lost two games to Missouri after the injuries, dropping the team to No. 12 in the RPI rankings. 

Greg Goff’s baseball team is making progress but not quickly enough for his taste. The Tide will start a home-and-home set with Troy on Tuesday evening before hosting the Trojans on Wednesday.

Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter right here.

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