Johnson speaks to football teamBy Nolan Imsande | 04/08/2015 10:29pm
The football team practiced outdoors on Wednesday. CW | Layton Dudley
Battle and Johnson chatted at midfield during the team’s stretching period and then the newly- named coach spoke to coach Nick Saban’s squad.
“First of all, Avery Johnson is part of our family here now,” Saban said. “We want to do everything that we can to help him be successful. We have a tremendous amount of respect for what he has accomplished and what he has been able to do.”
Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee recalled Johnson telling a story about when he spoke to the New Orleans Saints not long after Hurricane Katrina.
“He told us that he wants to be a part of what we are doing and would love for us to be a part of what he is trying to do with the basketball program,” Lee said.
Saban, who is known to enjoy playing pickup basketball games with his staff, said Johnson, who won an NBA Championship in 1999 with the San Antonio Spurs, is more than welcome to participate in the Saban’s infamous “noon-time league.”
“I told him that he is going to be on my noon-time basketball league,” Saban said with a smile. “But, I told him that I am going to play the point and he will have to play the two-guard and he isn’t going to control that because I am the commissioner of the league.”
Saban updated the status of injured players running back Bo Scarbrough and defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson. Scarbrough, who was carted off the field during the end of Friday’s scrimmage, underwent surgery on his knee Monday.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to get him back for the season,” Saban said. “He was doing really, really well this spring practice. It happened late in the scrimmage...very unfortunate.”
If Scarbrough’s injury keeps him out long-term, it could affect Alabama’s depth at running back. The team has already had to dismiss running back Tyren Jones, while Altee Tenpenny announced in January he would transfer schools.
Robinson was hurt during Monday’s practice but Saban said the injury should not affect him long-term.
“A’Shawn Robinson has got a sprained ankle and sprained knee,” he said. “Not really anything that will keep him out. He will be day-to-day. We will be a little conservative when we let him comes back.”