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Jumbo Package: Collin Sexton Takes the Lead

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With only a couple practices under his belt as a college player, Young Bull is already taking the reins.

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High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Powerade Jamfest Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Most of the college football world is talking about Hugh Freeze this morning, but we will open with some news on the most talented Alabama basketball roster in many years:

While Johnson said he’s heard some of the comments that Sexton can be too “boisterous” on the court and has been labeled by some as a “hothead,” he doesn’t want to change him.

“We need that energy, we need the communication,” Johnson said Tuesday. “My team last year was one of the quietest teams I’ve ever seen in my life. I often told them, ‘You can’t text on the basketball court, you have to talk.’ So, I love Collin’s energy. He talks a lot on the floor in a positive way. Every drill he takes very seriously. He has a professionalism about him where he’s laser-focused.

Alabama men's basketball head coach Avery Johnson announced that his team will host an open practice for the public from 6-7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at Coleman Coliseum. The 2017-18 Crimson Tide squad will be making final preparations for its eight-day, three-game trip to Canada, which will begin on Friday, Aug. 4.

Fans will be allowed to enter through the main entrance to Coleman Coliseum and can sit anywhere throughout the building to watch the team practice. Coach Johnson will be mic'd up during the hour-long session and will also hold and question and answer session following practice.

As long as Sexton plays under control, the team can use a little jolt of intensity and certainly needs some leadership. Watching his high school film, the kid is a competitor. If you’re around Tuscaloosa in early August, check out the open practice. #BuckleUp

Recruiting notes:

In public, coaches insist they don’t care about stars and haven’t seen the rankings, because those things can’t measure a kid’s character. Those are stock statements coaches use to defend their classes. Some just want five-star hearts.

Alabama probably won’t finish No. 1 this year, though betting against the Tide is dumb. If the Tide end up at No. 2, Saban will be asked about this as soon as February’s Signing Day (there’s now one in December, too) is over. When Saban says he’s not concerned about the Tide’s ranking, it’ll be a lot more believable than when other coaches say it.

Key in-state prospects coming include commit Jalyn Armour-Davis, a defensive back from Mobile, Mobile Christian defensive end Andres Fox, Austin running back Asa Martin, St. Clair County defensive lineman Jalen Cunningham, Central-Phenix City standout receiver Justyn Ross and 2019 Oxford offensive lineman Clay Webb.

Michigan offensive line commit Emil Ekiyor confirmed to AL.com that he will attend, along with Cordova, Tenn., three-star lineman Jerome Carvin.

Five-star cornerback Patrick Surtain from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will be there, along with Moultrie, Ga., four-star linebacker JJ Peterson.

It is unclear at this point whether Alabama can backcount two of this year’s early enrollees into the spots vacated by B.J. Emmons and Aaron Robinson, who were both 2016 signees. If so, Jarez Parks and Joseph Bulovas could slide into the class of 2017 and open two more slots for 2018.

Speaking of Emmons and Robinson, Joshua Jacobs has something to say:

Sad that a college player has to defend former teammates against middle-aged idiots who know nothing about the situation.

Other stuff:

But in the 2012 SEC Championship game on Dec. 1, Jones injured his foot. Afterward, doctors diagnosed a Lisfranc injury. They advised him against playing in the BCS title game later that month, but Jones insisted. “The doctors were awesome,” Jones says, noting that at no point did they pressure him to play. Rather, they did everything they could to help accommodate him. They flew him to Oregon (with a cast and motorized scooter) for a session at Nike’s headquarters to get fit for a customized shoe. The training staff flew out an anti-gravity treadmill to Miami [the site of the title game] just for Jones. He was the only one to use it.

“Do I have regrets?” Jones says. “No. I’m glad I did it. For the NFL, it probably wasn’t the smartest move. I had a surgery after the season and that put me out a few months. I couldn't participate in the combine, which affected my stock. I wasn't the same physically after that.”

Barrett kind of represents both sides of the pay-for-play argument. On the one hand, playing football funded his MBA, offering him a great fallback when the NFL didn’t work out. On the other, his sacrifice for the team goal contributed to the NFL not working out.

“It was a great time. It really was. People say, ‘Well, did the marriage (with Nick Saban) work,’ or did the whole thing work? Three years ago when that hire was made, if you’d said together we’re gonna go 40-3 while we were there, and win three straight SEC championships, three straight SEC offensive players of the year, a Heisman winner, a Biletnikoff winner and a national championship, I think every Alabama fan would have said, ‘That’s a pretty good deal, where do I sign up?’

“It was awesome. The last 26 times on the field, we won 26 straight games. So it was great and I’m very grateful because I learned a ton from him, obviously. So it was a great experience.”

We certainly had some good times, Lane.

Hugh Freeze:

There are so many takes out there today, I just grabbed the best for you along with some choice video:

The lies that eventually forced Hugh Freeze to resign Thursday as Ole Miss head football coach began small.

They were lies of deflection and opportunism. They were lies told to save face and recruiting classes, lies with concern for self but not others, lies that Freeze and everyone else in power at Ole Miss football had to know would eventually collapse.

They told them anyway, because the NCAA was pouncing on them and National Signing Day was but a few weeks away. So come January 2016, they began whispering off the record to college football reporters that the NCAA investigation into Ole Miss recruiting hadn’t actually found much about Freeze’s suspiciously white-hot program, that the majority of alleged violations came from the prior coach.

Ole Miss stood behind Freeze through an exhaustive NCAA investigation, through a bowl ban and lost scholarships, through allegations that would have ended the careers of many a coach.

The NCAA accused Ole Miss of paying players. It accused Ole Miss of loss of institutional control.

But as recently as Monday’s meeting of the Rebel Club in Memphis, there was Bjork, praising Freeze for establishing “the culture that’s right for our university.”

It appeared Freeze could survive anything. Enter hubris, vengeance and sex.

Of course, the typical trolls have to bring Alabama into this, though Colin seems to think Saban is now “king” after criticizing his coaching ability earlier in the year.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.