The All Things CW notes column by Christopher Walsh will appear in five parts this week, one each day leading up to Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.
This is …
In addition to the heart of the college football season, and postseason baseball, October also means the start of the NBA season, which will tip off in just under two weeks.
How different is it for Alabama fans to actually have numerous players to root for and follow? For years they had the likes of Robert Horry gold Mo Williamsbut it’s been a long time since the Crimson Tide produced multiple players making an impact in the league like this.
Collin Sexton inked a four-year deal for $71 million as part of his sign-and-trade deal to Utah, where he’ll have a chance to do what every basketball player dreams of, become a star in the NBA.
Meanwhile, the low-key Herb Jones is becoming one in New Orleans by basically just being Herb Jones.
Consider what was written about him in a recent profile piece of NBA.com:
“Jones has only been in the Crescent City for 14 months since being selected No. 35 overall by New Orleans in the 2021 draft, but his popularity has soared to a level unmatched for a pro entering the league with relatively little fanfare. Fans developed an immediate love for Jones’ defense-first game, as well as his quiet, unassuming approach on and off the court.”
“They’re never overly aggressive,” the University of Alabama product said. “It’s more like they’ll look at me and say, ‘Are you Herb?’ It’s not like, ‘Oh my God! It’s Herb Jones!’ I respect the fans. The majority of people will just say, ‘How are you? You good?’ Or low key say, ‘Can I get a picture?’ I’m cool with that.”
After being a second-round draft pick, Jones almost made the league’s All-Defensive Team as a rookie. He played in 78 games last season, averaging 9.5 points on 48 percent shooting.
This year he’s going in as a starter, and one who is still getting better.
“I don’t think the world understands how special he is,” Pelicans big man Zion Williamson said.
Alabama Players in the NBA
Name, Pos., Height, Weight, Team
- JD Davison, G, 6-3, 195, Celtics
- Keon Ellis, G, 6-6, 175, Kings
- JaMychal Green, PF, 6-8, 227, Warriors
- Herbert Jones, SF, 6-6, 206, Pelicans
- Braxton Key, SF, 6-8, 230, Pistons
- Kira Lewis Jr., PG, 6-1, 170, Pelicans
- John Petty Jr., G, 6-5, 186, Pelicans
- Joshua Primo, G, 6-5, 190, Spurs
- Collin Sexton, PG, 6-1, 192, Jazz
5 Things That Got Our Attention This Week
We start in the same place as we often do, Mississippi.
1) Mike Leach’s Ambitious Plan to Fix NIL: ‘Are You a Professional or Are You Not?’
The Mississippi State coach told Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated: “This should not be a masquerade party of professionals. Are you a professional or are you not? Instead of sitting here and having 17-year-olds reading everybody that they are professionals, well, let them be professionals. It’s one or the other. Right now, we’ve got this whole mysterious stratosphere of people wiggling all over back and forth. … With professionals comes responsibility. Yeah, you will potentially make more money. But you are drafted and can be traded. That’s what professionals do. This college football group [of administrators], they are all shocked by that. Why are you shocked by it? Name one league of professionals who don’t do it that way.”
Regarding a potential congressional solution, Leach said: “They can’t even solve their own problems. They don’t know the first thing about football, and we’re going to defer to a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing? What is the time frame? I don’t think they get it accomplished, but in the event they do, we’ll all be dead.”
It’s hard to argue against that last point.
2) NCAA Considering Bigger Championship Brackets
CBS Sports reported that the NCAA Transformation Committee is considering an idea that could allow as much as 25 percent of a sport’s teams to be able to qualify for its NCAA bracket, “and at its extreme, this would mean college basketball’s 363-school population could one day , theoretically, allow for as many as 90 teams in March Madness.”
However, the potential change could focus more on sports like baseball, lacrosse and soccer.
“They’ve thrown the concept out there for the commissioners to consider and go back to their ADs,” an anonymous league commissioner explained: At this point they’re talking about baseball, they’re talking about all [sports], it’s not just a basketball conversation. But everyone knows basketball will be the thing that moves the needle the most.”
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Another source noted that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey “was frustrated with how baseball went this past year” even though Ole Miss won the national title.
3) NCAA Gives Thumbs Up to a Girls High School Basketball Academy
The DI Council approved bringing back NCAA-sanctioned summer basketball academies and recruiting events for high school boys as well as the creation of a girls high school basketball academy.
The Council also passed a proposal for women’s college basketball to have an “NIT-level” secondary postseason tournament with a target start date of March 2024. It still must be approved by the Board of Directors.
4) Help Wanted
The NCAA is actively looking to hire an Associate Director of Enforcement for NIL. The position is “primarily responsible for identifying potential NCAA violations while maintaining current knowledge of and monitoring trends associated with Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) specific to recruiting and college athletics.”
Front Office Sports reported that the role will “serve as a resource to members and others who are concerned about potential violations of NCAA rules,” and that the NCAA is already working on numerous cases related to NIL.
5]Former Auburn Athletic Director Allen Greene May Not Go Far
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the former Auburn AD is potential candidate for the same job at Georgia Tech, along with Army’s Mike Buddie and Georgia State’s Charlie Cobb.
• The A-Club Alumni Association announced that Lillie Leatherwood will be the Grand Marshall of this year’s homecoming parade on campus. She’s an outstanding choice. In 1984, Leatherwood became the first University of Alabama female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. She went on to be a police officer and for years headed the Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League.
• Joe Lunardi of ESPN has updated his preseason bracketology for the upcoming season, and has Alabama basketball facing a familiar school in the first round: UAB. He has them playing in Columbus, with the winner facing the team to advance out of Duke vs. Colgate.
• Going back to the NBA, FanSided did top 25 series of players under the age of 25. Jones was No. 25. At No. 24 was Sexton. However, in the Sports Illustrated Top 100Jones was No. 85.
“The Pelicans struck second-round gold with Jones, who entrenched himself in the lineup in the absence of Zion Williamson and earned league-wide respect as a top-flight, versatile defender. He also displayed real offensive growth from his college days, shooting the ball better than expected and fitting in effectively. Assuming last year was the baseline thanks to Jones’s intrinsic value, his future looks extremely bright, particularly if his three-point percentage ticks upward.”
• Cam Newton has the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in his first 25 starts with 18. Jalen Hurts has scored 17 in 23 starts.
• Running back Brian Robinson Jr.. wasn’t the only former Crimson Tide football player to return to practice this week in hopes of making his NFL debut soon. Fellow rookie Christian Harris is back with the Houston Texans after being sidelined with a hamstring injury. It actually took the linebacker longer to get back from his injury than Robinson, who was shot twice during a botched robbery on Aug. 28.
Did You Notice?
Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde on early-season coaching changes: “It’s all just silly money in the sport at present. The media rights deals are skyrocketing, the salaries are skyrocketing, the facilities never stop being built and modernized, and now the NIL collectives are kicking into high gear And what comes along with that is a desperation to win that is leading to an epidemic of in-season firings. …
As for where the sport as a whole is heading? Deeper into the shark tank. Someone else will be dismissed next week. But at least they’ll say nice things about the freshly fired guy in the release. It’s the college football way.”
Forde-Yard Dash: College Football’s New World Order Starts With the Big 12
Rece Davis Shares Lee Corso Update After He Missed ‘College GameDay’
Christopher Walsh’s notes column All Things CW appears every week on BamaCentral.
Take 1: Bryce Young’s Injury Hurts Alabama in Ways That Aren’t Obvious
Take 2: Coaching Carousel Could Be Bill O’Brien’s Wheel of Fortune
Take 3: Why 8 Tackles by Jahiem Oatis at Arkansas Stood Out So Much
Take 4: Yes, the SEC is That Good This Year From Top to (Almost) Bottom
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