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Jumbo Package: Basketball SEC title, Ty Simpson commitment highlight another stellar weekend

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. It was another fine weekend in Tuscaloosa as gymnastics won at Arkansas with its second consecutive 197+ score and was named a NCAA regional host, and both baseball and softball swept. The only blemish was a women’s basketball loss at ranked Arkansas, but the ladies should be solidly in the NCAA field as they open SEC tournament play on Thursday, against Missouri. Of course, we all know that the men clinched their first SEC title since 2002.

Alabama’s 64 points against Mississippi State marked only the sixth time this year Bama has scored 66 or fewer points. The previous record for the Tide in such games this season was 0-5.

Alabama can hardly rest easy, however. There’s more basketball to be played. Bama hopes much more.

The Tide will host Auburn (8-10 SEC, 12-13 overall) at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday with ESPN2 televising. In a game at Auburn on January 9, the Tide escaped with a 94-90 win.

It’s great to get this monkey off of their backs. The team hasn’t played quite as well of late, and it’s possible that some pressing to get that title clinched was part of it. They certainly let loose after the game.

What a remarkable job Nate Oats has done in such a short time, and he’s recruiting at a level that few thought possible at Alabama. The next big target is pure center and #26 overall prospect Charles Bediako, who plans to announce sometime in March.

I am expecting Charles Bediako to end up at Alabama and so is the Crystal Ball. Currently there are five predictions in his Crystal Ball with all of them reading Alabama.

Back in October, 247Sports National Recruiting Analyst Brian Snow wrote this piece about his Alabama Crystal Ball pick for Bediako: VIP Scoop on Charles Bediako

Here is my scouting report on Bediako from back in October:

At 6-11 has a big wingspan. Needs to gain mass and strength and has a frame to do so. Limited athlete and not a leaper. Has good hands. Often has to take an extra step on pivot to gather himself. Has nice touch on his jump hook. Effective around rim but needs to expand skill set. Positional defender and rebounder. Solid big man with potential to improve skill level.

Alabama seems to be the frontrunner. Bediako’s relationship with Nate Oats and his staff is strong, and the four-star prospect sees the work the program has done with fellow Canadians. Ohio State and Texas certainly have punchers’ chances here. Michigan and Duke seem like less likely landing spots.

So, Alabama leads for a basketball recruit over Michigan, Ohio State, Texas and Duke. No big deal, right?

The big football news over the weekend was the commitment of elite QB prospect Ty Simpson, and it’s hard not to be bullish on this young man.

Simpson isn’t your typical drop-back, pro-style passer, either. He’s said he likes to experiment with some of Patrick Mahomes unique passing techniques.

“How Mahomes likes to run around a little bit, how Mahomes can throw at any really any arm slot,” Neal said. “I would agree that they have similarities. Even with arm strength aspect of it.”

In terms of strengths, Neal said Simpson’s ability to avoid pressure in the pocket stands out.

“He has a very good sense and good savvy of how to not get sacked,” Neal said. “Now obviously every now and then you get sacked. He does a good job of not getting sacked.”

Big arm, creative, athletic, and the son of a college head football coach. What’s not to love? He also has the right attitude.

— Mac Jones’ story had a real impact on Simpson and his decision to pick Alabama.

“I’m not going in there thinking I’m starting Day 1,” Simpson said in a Friday interview with Rivals. “If I play one year and have a year like Mac Jones did, I can fulfill my dreams in the NFL and I feel like the developmental part of it with the NFL coaches and Coach Saban will be a big part of my career at the University of Alabama.”

Love the mindset, indeed. Can’t wait to see him suit up in crimson.

We won’t have to wait as long to see JC Latham.

Hegamin, a former NFL offensive lineman, likens Latham to seven-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith, stating both have the natural build for the tackle position. Latham, 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, played basketball earlier in his career and moves well for an offensive lineman. While he already comes to Alabama as a polished prospect, his lack of experience on the offensive side of the ball leaves plenty of room to grow at the next level.

This dude is going to be very difficult to keep off the field.

Here’s some further evidence of the mess that Steve Sarkisian is walking into.

Hartzell had already publicly stated the university would keep the song, but hundreds of emails obtained through public records requests show that decision didn’t quell the furor among some of the most ardent supporters of “The Eyes.”

From June to late October, over 70% of the nearly 300 people who emailed Hartzell’s office about “The Eyes” demanded the school keep playing it. Around 75 people in emails explicitly threatened to stop supporting the school financially, calling on the university to take a heavier hand with students and athletes they believed were disrespecting university tradition by protesting it.

The timing of Tom Herman’s firing was a bit odd and reeked of booster meddling. Herman had supported his players’ protest of the song, and immediately after getting the job Sark emphasized that the song would be a part of the program. We’ll see how this ends.

Last, the Arik Gilbert saga continues.

“The more I’m hearing, the more I think there’s nothing Dan Mullen could’ve done to prevent this,” Pate said. “I think when all the details come out if we do get them, I don’t think history is going to look back on this and say, ‘boy, Dan Mullen really screwed up that Arik Gilbert situation. He lost Arik Gilbert.’ I don’t think he lost him. Obviously, they had what it takes to get him on campus, but to keep him on campus, a little bit of a different story.

Some Gators are claiming that Arik couldn’t qualify there, which I guess is possible. Alabama is supposedly among his leaders, but I’ll believe it when I see it. As he says, he plans on enrolling quietly and being done with it, and if he stays in the SEC will have to deal with the rule against intraconference transfers. Should he and Henry To’oto’o both come to Alabama and get immediate eligibility, something tells me that some attitudes will change about the portal.

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

Roll Tide.