Alabama’s Nate Oats reacts on TV after player Darius Miles charged with 'shocking' murder | Zagsblog
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Monday / January 30.
  • Alabama’s Nate Oats reacts on TV after player Darius Miles charged with ‘shocking’ murder

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Alabama coach Nate Oats said he’s using “a lot of prayer” and “a lot of scripture reading” to handle the tragic news that has come out of his basketball program.

    “The severity of the situation’s big,” Oats said on the SEC Network following his team’s 78-66 win over Vanderbilt Tuesday night. “I mean, a young girl’s life was lost and we’re really praying for Jamea’s family and her young son and everybody involved with the situation on her side of the family.”

    On Monday, Alabama junior forward Darius Miles was one of two men charged with the murder of Jamea Jonae Harris, who was killed in a shooting near the university’s campus early Sunday morning in Tuscaloosa.

    Investigators wrote in a court document that Miles, 21, admitted to providing the handgun immediately before the shooting, but another man, Michael Lynn Davis, 20, is accused by police of firing the gun.

    The shooting occurred early Sunday morning on the Strip, a student-oriented business district of bars and restaurants near the Tuscaloosa campus, police said. Harris was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when she was struck by a bullet, investigators wrote in the court document.

    Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse crumpled the stat sheet when asked about what Alabama is dealing with, saying he couldn’t “fathom that we even played this game.” Stackhouse said he told his Commodores to appreciate the opportunity that someone they have competed against likely will never get again.

    “Give them credit to be able to weather all of that stuff that’s around them, to come out and perform the way they did tonight you know, hats off,” Stackhouse said of Alabama. “They were the better team tonight.”

    Oats said Tuesday the criminal investigation prevented him from discussing any specifics of the case as they related to Miles, but said he had multiple conversations with Miles’s mother Sunday. A school statement Sunday said that Miles, who was in his third year at Alabama, had been “removed from campus” and was no longer a member of the team.

    “Sunday was rough, I think they realized the severity of the entire situation,” Oats said on the SEC Network, referring to his players.

    “But I think after Sunday night, they came back and got refocused. We had a good day of practice Monday…I thought they came out ready to play.

    “I think different guys process things differently. I think some handled it a little bit better, and some looked like they were still in a fog tonight. But hopefully by Saturday [at Missouri] we’ve got everybody back in a better frame of mind.”

    After Tuesday’s game, Oats posed for photos with several young fans, with one fan telling the coach, “Thanks for making basketball fun again.”

    (The AP contributed reporting)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.