USA TODAY International Edition

Saban: ‘ Wrong place’ wasn’t about basketball team

- Mike Brehm

Football coach Nick Saban says he wasn’t referencin­g Alabama’s basketball program when he remarked, “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Crimson Tide men’s basketball coach Nate Oats didn’t take it that way, either.

Saban had used that phrase Monday to explain why he was suspending defensive back Tony Mitchell after his arrest on a drug charge.

Oats had used the phrase “wrong spot at the wrong time” when describing why he wasn’t suspending star Brandon Miller after police testified that he transporte­d the gun that had been used in a shooting that killed Jamea Harris.

Miller has not been charged with a crime and, according to his attorney, was unaware of the gun’s presence and was already en route to pick up former teammate Darius Miles when Miles texted Miller asking him to bring Miles’ gun. Miles and Michael “Buzz” Davis have been charged in Harris’ death.

Saban said there was nothing to clarify about his Monday remarks. “I don’t watch basketball coaches’ press conference­s,” he said during the school’s pro day. “How many years have I been coaching? I’ve never watched one, never listened to what other people say. That was strictly about our program and what we do, and had nothing to do with anybody else. I don’t make comments about anybody else, and we hope the basketball team does really, really well.”

Oats said he didn’t think that Saban was referencin­g him. “He and I talked that night, and I didn’t take it that way at all,” said Oats, whose team will face San Diego State on Friday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. “I’ve got a ton of respect for coach. I said in my opening press conference when I got hired in Alabama that he may be the best coach for team sports in modern sports history. ... He’s been tremendous­ly supportive of our program since he’s got here. He says it all the time. He wants the entire athletic program to do well.”

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