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Have you ever seen those amnesty gun drop boxes at airports and government buildings?
Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats needs to put one at the entrance to his team’s locker room and maybe another in the front of Coleman Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide have been a gunnin’ team since Oats arrived before the 2019-20 season because of its 3-point shooting prowess. But lately, it’s getting a little more literal as real guns are seemingly everywhere.
Then-Alabama superstar forward Brandon Miller brought a teammate’s gun to a shootout at the Alabama Strip just off campus after 1 a.m. on Jan. 15. Teammate Darius Miles took his gun from Miller’s car and gave it to friend Michael Davis, who shot and killed Jamea Jonae Harris, according to reports and testimony by the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
Miles and Davis have been in jail on capital murder charges ever since awaiting trial. A court date has not been set, but another bond hearing for both has been scheduled for May 24 in Tuscaloosa. Attorneys for Miles and Davis plan to plead self-defense. Good luck with that.
Darius Miles Attorneys Talking Self-Defense
Prosecuting attorney Paula Whitley may have that defense defensed. When she asked Tuscaloosa Police detective Branden Culpepper at a preliminary hearing Feb. 21, if Miles and/or Davis told him they ever felt threatened by Harris and her boyfriend Cedric Johnson, Culpepper said, “No.”
For a self-defense argument, it tends to be good if one can establish a threat. It was Culpepper who put Miller transporting the murder weapon to Miles and Davis in the public record. Miles was immediately kicked off the team by Oats only after that. Even though he knew of Miller’s involvement back in mid-January.
Another soon-to-be Alabama basketball player was at the Strip with guns – three of them – last Saturday night. He was just a couple of blocks from where Harris died in a car at a main entrance to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Jaykwon Walton, a junior guard who averaged 13.9 points a game with 40% shooting from 3-point range (42 of 105), committed to Alabama on March 28 after entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. He was technically not considered a signee yet as of last weekend, but he was coming to Alabama. He had already filled out some of the necessary forms for the transfer. He probably should have been in Wichita, Kansas, as the spring semester at Wichita State does not end until May 11.
Jaykwon Walton Already In Tuscaloosa
But Walton was home in Tuscaloosa, so to speak. He played at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa in the 2021-22 season before transferring to Wichita State as the No. 6 junior college recruit in country. And he previously played at Carver High in Montgomery.
Tuscaloosa Police arrested Walton, 21, and friend Kameron Deshawn Harris, 21, last Saturday night on The Strip for misdemeanor possession of 32 grams of marijuana. When officers asked Walton to exit a car, he told them there was a loaded firearm under his seat. Officers found that and two more loaded weapons, according to the police report. Each was bailed out on $500 bond.
Nate Oats Did Right Thing By Eliminating Jaykwon Walton
Oats immediately did the right thing by announcing that Walton would not be joining the Alabama basketball team for the 2022-23 season.
“Alabama is no longer recruiting Jaykwon Walton,” Oats said in a statement that was not truthful. He was already done recruiting Walton before he said that. They had him. He had committed and was in the process of getting on the roster.
Alabama – AKA PRU – Still Doesn’t Get It
Oats and many at Alabama still don’t get it. This is the same guy who actually said he sought Ray Lewis’ advice on how to handle a murder charge controversy that impacted his team this season. And the U of A is clearly not PRU (Public Relations University) either. A media consultant could open a cottage industry on Paul Bryant Drive.
“He will not be a student-athlete at the University of Alabama,” Oats continued in his statement on Monday. OK, he got that part right.
Walton, Harris and the driver of the car were not charged with anything regarding the weapons. This is because as of last Jan. 1, Alabama became the 25th “constitutional carry” state. In Alabama, residents and non-residents can carry a concealed handgun without a state permit and without a background check. “Constitutional carry” is a reference to the Second Amendment, which gives United States citizens rights to keep and bear arms.
The other 24 states with these same gun freedom laws are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming.
Nate Oats Needs To Remove The Guns
Oats needs to take handguns into his own hands as Alabama’s basketball coach before something else bad happens.
Alabama students can possess guns, according to the University student handbook, though they must be kept in “secure storage.”
Oats can, and should, bypass whatever legal rights any of his players have toward guns and get all of them out of their possession.
He should also get more detailed in his own background checks when recruiting. This will help him against the dark side of the NCAA Transfer Portal – transient student-athletes. And, by the way, the NCAA needs to erase the student part of student-athletes with the new portal and Name, Image & Likeness.
Jaykwon Walton Another NCAA Transient Portal Example
Walton is a perfect example of the transient student athlete brought to us by the ridiculous, immediate NCAA Transfer Portal that needs to have a one-year waiting period. Walton has been transferring since he was in high school. He started at Northside High in Columbus, Georgia, before finishing at Carver High in Montgomery, Alabama.
He originally committed to Mississippi State. Then he signed at Georgia and played only briefly in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He transferred to Shelton State for the 2021-22 season and signed with Mississippi State for the 2022-23 season. But he changed that to Wichita State after Mississippi State fired coach Ben Howland late in the 2021-22 season.
Alabama Would Have Been Jaykwon Walton’s 5th School
Alabama would have been his fifth school decision in four years since finishing high school in 2019, counting Mississippi State. Yes, other athletes have swapped schools as much and not got arrested for marijuana with a 3-pointer of guns. But what does so many switches say about a young man’s character?
Oats shouldn’t just want a player because he can hit a 3-pointer. Find guys who can stick and check their guns at the door. That might help Alabama basketball’s growing culture problem.
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