Alabama basketball: Off-season attrition begins; football continues spring practice

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at basketball’s impending transfers and a record-setting finish for the swim team. 

Alabama basketball’s offseason is made slightly more painful by the miracle Final Four run from South Carolina, which, you may have heard, lost to Alabama twice this season. But in most senses, it’s business as usual, with the growing trend of player transfers wreaking its havoc on the Crimson Tide. Friday began with the announcement of intent to transfer from two role players, Nick King and Brandon Austin. King, already a transfer from Memphis to Alabama, missed all but seven games with a respiratory infection. It’s possible that his career is over and this is merely a graduate school selection in the academic sense. If he is still healthy enough to play, King will be eligible immediately.

Austin, a sophomore, was a high-energy guard who saw minutes in six games this season — almost nine of them, to be exact. He is a talented player, but clearly a step behind, and may not have seen his scholarship renewed in favor of a graduate transfer. These transfers leave Alabama with six open scholarships, not including the five signees who make up the fourth-best recruiting class in the country. After those players arrive on campus, Johnson will have one more roster spot to fill.

And Saturday was Avery Johnson’s birthday. Check out some sterling media rants of his own. 

ICYMI

Built by Bama

Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft has five Alabama players being selected in the first round. Notable exclusions include Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams, both linebackers who have been labeled one-dimensional — though both of their dimensions are world class.

Don’t miss this profile of Reuben Foster, his love for the game and his path to the NFL draft. 

Geno Matias-Smith, a former Alabama safety, is back in Tuscaloosa as an analyst — somewhere between a GA and a coach.

Around the Capstone

The swimming team recovered from a slow start to reach its goal of a third consecutive top-1o finish. The team rallied with a ninth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, a fourth-place finish by Connor Oslin in the 200 backstroke and a second-place, school record, near-NCAA record result by senior Anton McKee. McKee broke his own school record and finished just short of NCAA and American record-setter Will Licon.

Notably, Alabama finished above Auburn for the second year running and was the third-ranked SEC team behind perennial powerhouses Florida and Georgia.

The women’s basketball team’s mini-fairy tale of an NIT title came to an end in the Elite Eight, thanks to one bad quarter and the vagaries of basketball when the shots just won’t fall. While the loss stings for an Alabama that had begun to dream of a finals run, the season still ends as the most successful in nearly two decades and gives a young Alabama squad a foundation to build on next season.

The softball team suffered its worst loss ever, a 14-0 thrashing to an unimpressive South Carolina team at home, before rallying to claim the second game of the doubleheader.

Baseball took one game on the road in South Carolina, winning Friday night but was unable to keep pace on Saturday and Sunday against the No. 7 Gamecocks. Taking one game from the Gamecocks is a mark of improvement for Greg Goff’s first-year club, but the team still has a long way to go. The team is hovering at .500, 12-12 currently.

The women’s golf team is ranked No. 2 in the country and is pushing Stanford for the top spot. Women’s tennis lost to Vanderbilt and rowing swept Dayton on senior day.

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