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Basketball has been an afterthought for the Alabama Crimson Tide since one of its players was charged with capital murder following the death of a young woman near the Tuscaloosa campus early Sunday morning.
Junior Darius Miles, 21, remains in a Tuscaloosa jail without bond on a charge of capital murder after allegedly supplying a gun to friend Michael Lynn Davis, 20. Davis allegedly shot Jamea Jonea Harris, 23, to death at about 1:45 a.m. local time near University Boulevard. Davis also remains in jail without bond.
Miles was immediately kicked off the team. He was on the bench but did not play because of an injury Saturday afternoon when Alabama beat LSU in a home game and was out for the season with the injury anyway. The Tide returned to the court for the first time since the murder charge on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee, and beat Vanderbilt, 78-66.
Basketball Not Important, Says Alabama Coach Nate Oats
“The basketball side of it became really unimportant for a while there,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said after the game. “But the basketball side of it also gives us something where our team can pull together, and it gives us something else to think about because the severity of the situation’s big.”
Harris’ death leaves her young son without a mother.
“I mean, a young girl’s life was lost,” Oats said. “Really praying for Jamea’s family and her young son and everybody involved with this situation on her side of the family.”
Oats said he noticed some of his players were not in a typical game-day frame of mind.
“Some of them looked like they were maybe still in a fog,” he said. “I think different guys process things differently. Some of them probably handled it a little bit better.”
Oats struggled to handle it himself.
Alabama Coach Nate Oats Calls Incident ‘Shocking’
“Shocking to be honest with you,” he said. “But I’m a believer, so a lot of prayer. A lot of scripture reading, just to figure out what to tell the team. I shared with them a few passages. I think we can learn from it. Hopefully, our guys in the future make better choices. Hopefully, you don’t have to learn from your own mistakes. Hopefully, you can learn from other people’s mistakes.”
No. 4 Alabama’s win improved it to 16-2 and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference as the Tide remained in first place.
“Sunday was really rough when they realized the severity of the entire situation,” Oats said. “But I think after Sunday night, they came back, got refocused.”
The Tide plays at Missouri (13-4, 2-3 SEC) at 6 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.
“We had enough with us to close the game and get a win,” Oats said. “Give our guys a lot of credit for playing through the adversity they’ve had to play through here for the last 48 hours or so.”