Alabama’s championship push comes with murder charges

When Oats answered basketball questions, he was effusive, almost effusive, describing the selflessness of his players — “All our kids are kids of high character,” he said — and the importance of receiving input from the entire roster for his team to be at its best . His opening speech lasted four minutes.

But as he answered questions about the murder, Oats’ expression darkened. He pursed his lips and his eyes darted around the room. He spoke concisely, rarely stringing more than a sentence or two together.

The most uncomfortable question was one of the last. In the two months since Harris’ death, Oats has been asked if he’s tried to speak to anyone in her family?

After the shooting, Oats sought advice from Ray Lewis, the former NFL star who was involved in a murder investigation and testified against two of his friends. However, according to, Oats had not contacted the family late last month.

“Listen, this whole situation, as you know, was obviously difficult to deal with, tragic to be involved in the loss of a young woman’s life,” Oats said Friday. “What you ask is a private matter; I will not discuss publicly with everyone. A lot of it is just hard to deal with, to be honest. But that is a private matter.”

Whether or not the case has weighed on the Alabama players, they don’t seem to have played as freely and easily as they have for much of the season lately. The Crimson Tide had three narrow wins, including two in overtime, following the pre-trial hearing and lost to Texas A&M in the regular-season finals.

The team played much better on Friday and Miller went ahead.

He knocked down a long 3-pointer just before halftime and extended Alabama’s lead to 41-19, after which he clapped his hands and roared at the Mississippi State bench. In the second half, he vaulted over a defender to initiate an alley-oop pass from Quinerly.

And when the game was over, he did an interview with ESPN on the sidelines and headed into the dressing room after shaking hands with several fans — all carelessly, it seemed. Alabama’s championship push comes with murder charges

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