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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

We’re talking basketball today

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Kentucky vs Alabama Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going to start out with a little basketball talk today, since the football world is pretty dead.

Powerhouse program among Alabama opponents on foreign tour-

The eight-day August trip will send Avery Johnson's highly-anticipated third team to Canada from Aug. 4-11.

Alabama will play a total of three games against Canadian universities in a five-day span. It will face McGill University on Aug. 7.

Two days later, it gets Canadian powerhouse Carleton University. It has won seven straight USports national titles. The program went 6-0 last summer against American schools including a win over Wichita State. It went 22-1 against Canadian competition last season. The final opponent will be University of Ottawa, runners-up to Carleton last season in the North Division with a 16-3 record.

The games will be played in both Ottawa and Montreal.

This will be the first time that Avery Johnson’s new squad will really get to play together. Johnson has already mentioned that he’s really excited to be able to get some film on the team, especially the new influx of talented freshmen.

Daniel Giddens, Alex Reese, Herb Jones, John Petty, and, of course, Collin Sexton will all be the focus of attention for most of us, as they look to blend an infusion of talent and energy with Dazon Ingram, Braxton Key, Donta Hall, and Riley Norris.

Alabama to face reigning Sun Belt regular season champion-

Another of Alabama's non-conference opponents for this season was revealed Monday.

The Crimson Tide will host reigning Sun Belt regular season champion UT-Arlington Nov. 21 at Coleman Coliseum, UT-Arlington announced.

UT-Arlington finished last year 27-9 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

The Mavericks are led by reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year Kevin Hervey, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior forward who averaged 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.

We also get to pick up a solid out-of-conference team that should be a beatable opponent, yet pose a significant challenge and help out the RPI. And we get to face them at home, where Avery Johnson has been stellar over the last two years.

I love when the Tide schedules games like this. They’re good for the team, good for the fans, and good for the season.

What Alabama's Avery Johnson thinks of NBA's one-and-done rule

As Collin Sexton, the best bet for the program's first draft pick since 2008 enrolls, coaches and the NBA commissioner have reignited the debate over who should go pro and when.

Without the rule requiring at least one year in school, Sexton likely would have gone straight to the big leagues.

Alabama coach Avery Johnson, who said at his introductory news conference one-and-done players were a target, weighed in on the renewed discussion Monday. He said those who choose to go to school should stay at least two years.

"I have mixed feelings about it because I want to do what's best for the player, on one hand," Johnson said. "And I think there are exceptions like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant and LeBron (James) that can come right out of high school but I just don't want a young man that that's just not his trajectory to not be focused in high school and think he's a kid who can come straight out of high school and go straight to the NBA.

I’ve always found the one-and-done rule with basketball to be a bit odd. Football requires at least 3 years, and baseball does not require any. I feel like both methods have worked much more smoothly than the weird one-year purgatory period that we see in basketball with the top recruits. I won’t pretend to act like I know a better solution, but I do think that the one year in college requirement is not the best answer.

If anything, though, it at least let Alabama bring in Collin Sexton for one year. The fact that Coach Johnson made by proving that he can bring in such a great player should be more beneficial to the Tide’s basketball program than even Sexton’s skills could ever add in just one year.

Transfer Daniel Giddens expected to be offensive help for Alabama-

If the Tide is to make such a jump, the 6-11 Giddens will play a major role. Once thought by some to be a younger Jimmie Taylor (good defense, limited offense), Giddens has made strides in the last 12 months and may well prove to be a threat on both ends.

“Daniel’s been doing great,” Johnson said when asked about Giddens’ progress. “He’s worked hard. He went through our rigorous redshirt program. He’s getting stronger, and he’s expanded his game. We feel he can be the type rebounder (graduate transfer) Bola Olaniyan was, but we think he’ll be a better offensive player, and take his game out to 14 or 15 feet.

“He’s a big guy that can pass the ball from the foul line,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, (Giddens) will be able to play some with Donta (Hall), and hold down the middle when Donta is out of the game.”

As an Ohio state freshman, the Atlanta native Giddens averaged 3.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18.2 minutes per game. He will wear no. 4 and is listed at 236 pounds.

Many of us have forgotten about Giddens- that guy who’s been on the team for a year but never played due to the transfer rules, and is now overshadowed with all the excitement of the upcoming star-studded recruiting class.

But if there is one area that Alabama has really lacked in over the last few years, it’s at center/power forward. Giddens is a 6’11” talent that will push Donta Hall for the lion’s share of minutes underneath the basket. If he develops, along with the newcomers having as big of an impact around the perimeter as we’re hoping, this could be a really dangerous team.

Enjoy your Gump Day by watching Julio Jones make ridiculous catches

Alabama players named to NFL's Top 100 Players of 2017-

Alabama was well-represented in the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2017.

The Crimson Tide tied Georgia for the most players, with five, to be named to this year’s edition of the Top 100 Players, which concluded Monday night with the revealing of the top 10.

The two SEC teams led the rest of the country, and of the two, Alabama saw the highest-ranked player in wide receiver Julio Jones (3), who was also the highest-ranked NFL wideout.

Of the Alabama players recognized by their peers, two were wide receivers, two were safeties and one was a linebacker. Outside of Jones, the other four made their debuts on the list.

Here, BamaOnLine lists all five of the former Tide players named to the NFL’s Top 100 of 2017.

You’ve likely seen this already, but Julio Jones was just voted the 3rd best player in the NFL.

Along with him, Landon Collins, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Amari Cooper, and Donta Hightower all made it into the NFL Top 100. wont let me embed their video, but here is the announcement video for Julio. It’s pretty awesome.

*trigger warning: If you’re a Falcon’s fan, they do, for whatever reason, still feel the need to quickly show a clip of that ridiculous Edelman catch in the Super Bowl, despite it being Julio’s video.