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Jumbo Package: Nate Oats pleased with effort, recruits impressed with Kalen DeBoer

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The women’s basketball team, fresh off of a victory over Arkansas, takes on Vanderbilt tonight, at 6pm CT on SEC Network. The Gym Tide fell for the first time this season. They will look to bounce back at Auburn on Friday night.

The No. 6 Alabama gymnastics program (5-1-1, 2-1-1 SEC) came up short against the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (5-2; 3-1 SEC), 197.600-196.975, Friday night in Coleman Coliseum. Despite suffering its first loss of the season, the Crimson Tide managed to earn podium finishes on all four events behind a total of eight individual, season-high scores.

The opening rotation was highlighted by a career-high, 9.900 performance on vault from freshman Jamison Sears resulting in the first podium finish of her Crimson Tide career. Senior Cameron Machado would score her first of two 9.9s on the uneven bars to highlight UA’s second rotation.

The men’s basketball team has a big one in Auburn on Wednesday night, and the head man was quite pleased with his team’s effort on Saturday night.

“Rylan, shoot, give him three chances, and he’s probably going to make one. He’s better than a 33 percent shooter,” Oats said after the game. “I was fired up for that sequence. That’s exactly how we want to play.”

But it wasn’t just that play against the Bulldogs that displayed Blue Collar Basketball. The attitude permeated throughout the whole game. Alabama players were diving on the floor for loose balls, hustling back on defense and grabbing offensive boards. The team finished with a season-high 20 offensive rebounds and tied the season best with 13 steals.

Alabama charts blue collar points throughout the game, and Oats said the Crimson Tide almost doubled up the Bulldogs. Alabama finished with 118.5 blue collar points, and Mississippi State had 64. It was just the second time all year that Mississippi State had been out-rebounded.

“We’ve been asking our guys to come out and try to put 40 minutes of both sides of the ball together,” Oats said. “That’s been the closest we’ve come.”

Alabama was favored, but the Crimson Tide left no doubt which was the better team. SEC play will continue to be tough, but UA has set itself up for success in its stated goal of winning the conference in the regular season.

They will need that kind of effort to close the deal and win the SEC. You can bet that the livestock lovers will be at full throat on Wednesday night.

Recruits seem to be impressed with Kalen DeBoer and staff. LB commit QB Reese shut down his recruitment after taking an OV this weekend, and several juniors spoke.

Selma (Ala.) Southside Top247 athlete Derick Smith could play receiver or in the secondary if he were to choose the Tide.

“They said it’s an argument every time they have a meeting about me,” Smith said. He is the No. 44 overall prospect in the Top247 Player Rankings.

Smith said he isn’t sure what he prefers, but Alabama is a program that’s gonna be a mainstay with him moving forward.

“It was good,” Smith said of the experience. “The standard like (DeBoer) said, the Bama standard, before Nick Saban retired, the standard he said is the same standard.

“It’s a lot that I like about them. Bama it’s a good place. It’s where you want to be to get drafted and go to the NFL and go the next level.”

Brandon Miller went off yesterday.

“He works hard, he’s very diligent and that’s the way it works,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said after Sunday’s game. “He’s got a lot of talent, and you work hard, you’re going to get better, so he’s getting better for the right reasons. He’s being double-teamed now. He’s done a good job against that, passing out of it. I think he’ll get better and better.”

The No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Miller became the second player among last year’s selections to score at least 35 points in a game this season. No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama scored 38 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ 132-121 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 2.

Last, former Georgia RB James Cook engaged in a little pot stirring over the weekend.

“We were supposed to be in the playoffs this year,” Cook, now a running back for the Buffalo Bills, told USA Today Sports this week. “If Georgia was in the playoffs this year, we win it all. And I think they didn’t want to see us go back-to-back (to back). We lost one game to Alabama in the SEC Championship and hadn’t been beaten the whole season. It was the same scenario my last year in college. We won every game, lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship, but we still got in and won it all.

“I just feel like they knew Nick Saban was fixing to retire, so they (tried to) sneak him in one.)”

Georgia players often don’t do what they are “supposed to” do. This includes graduating and resisting the urge to turn public streets into drag racing strips.

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

Roll Tide.