Alabama Basketball Coach Nate Oats Spoke Out About Nick Saban’s Recent Comments Some Saw As A Slight

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats

Getty Image / Alex Slitz

Alabama basketball has been in the news for a ton of reasons lately, some good, and some bad. The Crimson Tide are the top overall seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and play in the Sweet Sixteen Friday evening against San Diego State. The program is just four games away from its first national championship and is just two wins away from its first Final Four, also. Yeah, it’s a football school.

But, there are has been plenty of bad, as well. Darius Miles, who at the time of the alleged crime was on the Alabama basketball team, has been charged with shooting and killing Jamea Davis in the early morning of January 15 in Tuscaloosa.

That was that for a while, but then, in February, news came out that star freshman Brandon Miller was also at the scene of the crime, and that the murder weapon was in a car he was driving shortly before the shooting. Miller has been cleared of wrongdoing by local authorities, and has continued to shine for the Crimson Tide.

But, Alabama coach Nate Oats has taken heat for his handling of the situation, and shortly after the news of Miller’s involvement, or lack thereof, became public, chalked it up to him simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We knew about that. Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”

And, earlier this week, following the arrest of Alabama football safety Tony Mitchell, Nick Saban immediately suspended Mitchell, and said there was no such thing as “wrong place at the wrong time.”

Many interpreted that as a shot at Nate Oats, but, according to comments made on Thursday, Oats didn’t take it that way. Here are some more details, courtesy of ESPN.

Oats said he spoke with Saban on Monday night, adding that he did not take Saban’s remark as direct criticism.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for him,” Oats said during a Thursday news conference. “He has been tremendously supportive of our program since he got here. He says it all the time. He wants the entire athletic department to do well. He has been at multiple games this year.”

I’m not sure if I buy that, but it’s the story that Oats and Alabama are going with. Of note, Saban made an appearance at practice earlier this week.

Until they lose, or if they win it all, Alabama basketball is going to keep making headlines.