Is Alabama Turning into a Basketball School?


Vicky Graff Photo

Remember when Kentucky just dismantled Alabama 117-95 in Rupp Arena on Feb. 24? Who would have thought a month later one team would be in position to reach the Final Four and th other team finished without a postseason win in the SEC Tournament or NCAA Tournament?

Yet that is what has happened and Alabama will try for its first Final Four berth when it plays Clemson today while UK lost in the first round to Oakland.

At Alabama’s press conference Friday, questions were asked about Alabama now possibly being a basketball school as well as a football school. Enjoy what the players and coach Nate Oats had to say.

Q. Alabama is primarily a football school. Everybody knows Alabama as a school that’s winning national championships on the football field. Now as a basketball team, you guys have something to do with that — no basketball team at Alabama has ever done before. What does it mean to have the Crimson Tide make its first Final Four in school history?

RYLAN GRIFFEN: It would mean a lot, just be probably legends on campus. They always say where legends are made. Making the Final Four would be — we would be a historic team in Alabama history. Being a part of that would be great. It’s not going to be easy, for sure. Like Clemson is a great team. So in order for us to get that, we’re going to have to work really, really hard and play really, really hard and a really, really good game tomorrow. Focus on the game first and then all that other stuff comes after.

AARON ESTRADA: I kind of just agree with what Rylan’s saying. We’re more so just trying to focus on the game right now. Just look at the history behind it and everything after that.

Q. You’re at a school that’s always going to be associated with football, with the amount of success it’s had on the football field. You mentioned you have a chance to go to the first Final Four in school history. And this is your second Elite Eight in school history. What does it mean for Alabama basketball and what could it mean to go to its first Final Four?

NATE OATS: We’ve got two schools like that — Alabama and Clemson playing in L.A. Most people would think we’re out here playing in the Rose Bowl. The basketball Rose Bowl.

I think it will be huge because we came in and Alabama football is obviously the best football program in the country, (indiscernible) college football. In my opinion, they’ve got all sorts of national championships. But multiple sports have won national championships at Alabama. The athletic department as a whole is a championship-level athletic department.
We need to get men’s basketball up to the level that a lot of other sports are at. So if you could make the Final Four — obviously winning the national championship is the biggest thing but the Final Four is huge in men’s basketball.

If you can get to a Final Four and put yourself on that stage, I think we’ve been able to recruit some higher level players. Players want to play here. We’ve won two SEC regular seasons, two SEC tournaments since we’ve been here. We’ve won a lot. But we’ve never been to a Final Four.

So making a Final Four would be very big for the program, would show that we’re competing with all of the best programs in the country for the biggest thing. You’re trying to win a national championship. Final Four is that step right before winning a national championship, and we haven’t been to a Final Four yet.

So this would be the biggest win in the history of Alabama basketball if we can pull it off. And I think our players understand the enormity of the game. And I think their preparation, their effort will match their understanding of how important this game is.

5 Responses

    1. Professor You are correct in Your statement! Who would have believed that folks in Kentucky in the last 10 years actually look forward to Football Season?! And what no one would have ever imagined is that Kentucky fans would hate to see football season end??!

    2. UK has not only lost its status as BB school, it has been buried so deep it is becoming an archaeological site where it is necessary to look into the archives to dig out negative records to elder see that UK had a season worse than any in a century.

      The depths of despair for UK BB just got an endorsement by the minion AD to allow his master another year to continue destruction of the former gold standard.

      The fraud is worse than anyone paid to hold the UK BB HC position in at least century!

  1. I’m a 50/50 fan with this same love for the football program that I have for the basketball program,but I’m not going to lie over the last 5 years I’ve shifted more towards the football program. They don’t recruit at the level that Kentucky basketball does but they have closed that gap more and more every year. Plus when we get a big win in football I get more excited than basketball. Basketball we are expected to win so when we do in football its icing on the cake. I think if we had a big year in football this year which I think we get back to double digit wins again this year in football it moves the needle even closer to the basketball team. Now if we could go to the college football playoffs in which 10 years ago I would never have believed it. Lets go Kentucky!

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