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Jumbo Package: “Special” Alabama basketball team prepares for Maryland

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Iona at Alabama Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. After another stellar week for Alabama sports, the basketball team starts the week with a huge tilt against Maryland. Tip is at 7:45 CT and we will have our typical coverage later in the morning.

Over the weekend Kim Pettway, wife of assistant coach and former Tide star Antoine, tweeted out this story of autistic son Kingston’s relationship with the team and, well, you just need to read it.

When asked about Kingston, this is what John Petty had to say.

“King is like the joy of our team,” Petty said Sunday. “After every game, a lot of players, we’re looking for him to come in and just give us that spark and energy, especially after we win. Even when we lose, he’s always standing right there and he’s just always that light that shines on our team and just uplifts us and just makes us happy. And especially me being around him for four years, I know him personally, been around him for a long time and he’s like a little brother to me. He’s a very special kid, and he’s so, so special to this team. We love him so much.”

Fantastic story, and thanks to Kim for sharing it.

This team is more than capable of winning a national championship, but whether that happens or not they are a special group of men. We are going to look back on them in a decade like we do the 2008-2009 Alabama football squads. They are putting this program on the map, and doing it with class.

“Shoot, maybe a new venue won’t hurt,” Oats said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well in Hinkle. I thought it was a shooters gym. It’s more like a high school gym than a big, cavernous arena. We didn’t shoot it well there so getting back to a bigger arena more like Coleman, they’re used to shooting in Coleman, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Alabama’s five made 3-pointers against Iona was its second fewest of the year while taking a season-low 16 attempts.

Truthfully, it would be better to say that Petty didn’t shoot it well at Hinkle. While he impacted the game on defense and won the hard hat award, for whatever reason he was off at only 20% from three and 38% from the line while the rest of the team shot 36% and 67%, respectively. Hopefully he can find his shot. They won’t go far without it.

On Primo, hope for the best.

Oral Roberts made the Sweet Sixteen as a 15 seed, only the second team to ever accomplish that feat. They had to go through Ohio State and Florida to get there, which inspired this fantastic tweet.

That is quality comedy.

Nick Saban spoke to media this weekend, and he seems pleased with his QB and OC.

“Probably didn’t play him as much as we wanted or would have liked to, a little bit because we were playing 10 SEC games and we didn’t have any other games that we could sort of work him into more,” said Saban after Friday’s first spring practice. “But I thought he did a good job. I thought, at times, he was feeling his way out there, not playing with the kind of confidence that we would like for him to play with, but it’s part of his development and he learned from it.

“He’s been much better in practice, like today. This was the first day we could actually throw, and I thought he did a good job of throwing.”

“I think Bill’s a really, really good coach,” Saban said. “He’s coached with some really good coaches. He’s had some really good success at what he’s accomplished and what he’s done. I think it’s really difficult when you have somebody come in and try to learn our system, which he has done a really good job of, to try to implement that system and tweak it to where we can fix it and make it better based on the quality control that we did last year.”

A lot of folks are down on Bryce a bit because of some mistakes in his very limited game action last season. Those people are going to look foolish in the fall.

“Big shot Bob” Robert Horry returned to school and is set to graduate in May.

Great for him, and good luck on the coaching future.

Last, Alabama just can’t stop winning championships.

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

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

Roll Tide.