After a heartbreaking loss in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament, the Alabama men’s basketball team concluded a season that will set the foundation for years to come for the program. In just his second season on the job, head coach Nate Oats helped the Crimson Tide advanced to its furthest point in the tournament since 2004.
During his Tuesday press conference head coach of the Crimson Tide’s football team, Nick Saban, had the chance to comment on the accomplishments of the team and what he admired about its season.
“I think it’s pretty obvious. What I admire most about our basketball team this year — and I think I’ve mentioned this before — is the way they competed, how hard they played, and how they came back in games,” Saban said to the media. “They won some really close games, tough games. Really good mental toughness.
“To come back in the game like they came back in the other day. We just seemed a little out of sorts in the game the other day, which I don’t really know why. But the guys played, hard they competed hard and I really have a tremendous amount of respect for that.”
Oats’ squad was able to win the program’s first SEC regular-season title since 2002, and the first SEC Tournament championship since 1991, cementing a culture that Saban had picked up on and is elated to see.
“I think the culture of that program, because of what coach Otats has done, really shined through this year with the way that team played, the way they improved, the way they competed the way they played together,” Saban said. “I think all those things are critical factors in having a successful program, and I think that’s what a lot of players wanna be involved in, too.
“So hopefully that’ll help us in recruiting to get some really good players for the future. I know we’ve got some good young players on our team and to complement them. But I was really, really proud of the way our basketball team played.”
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77