ATLANTA — if you’re going to play pickup basketball with Alabama coach Nick Saban, you better hope he picks you for your team. The Tide coach pretty much dictates the parameters of the game.
Monday’s National Championship Game matchup between Alabama and Georgia is the first time Saban faces off against longtime Alabama defensive coordinator and current Georgia coach Kirby Smart. Both coaches made sure to point out Saturday at media day that the game was more about the players than themselves.
I expected [discussion about Saban vs. Smart] to be much more than it has been,” Smart said. “I explained to our players that I have nothing but good things to say about the University of Alabama and Coach Saban and their staff. I’m close to a lot of those guys. But the game is not between Coach Saban and I. I like my chances playing against him in pickup basketball sometimes better than I would in a game possibly because I know who he is, I know what he does. He knows everything that I do and that we do.”
Now you know how the topic of basketball came up. Georgia went before Alabama on Saturday, so Saban got a chance to respond to Smart’s comments.
“Well, first of all, Kirby was always on my team so we weren’t playing against each other, we were playing with each other. I’m kind of the commissioner of the league when we play basketball, so I kind of pick my team based on who’s there to play. I also pick the guy on the other team that’s going to guard me, and I call all the fouls. So we don’t lose much.”
Yeah, you definitely don’t want to play against Saban, whether or not it’s in football or basketball. Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt corroborated Saban’s statement too.
“They finally got on the same team back in like 2008,” Pruitt said. “Once they got on the same team that’s when I pretty much gave it up. You weren’t going to win if you wasn’t on their team because Coach Saban was picking the team and you had him and Kirby and he picked the best athletes that was left in the entire organization and put the rest of us on the other team. And then he called all the fouls. You didn’t have much of a chance. And then Kirby started trying to call the fouls too. It was hard to win.”
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