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Notebook: 2021 Tide Tipoff at Foster Auditorium

Crimson Tide men's and women's basketball players performed for the first time this season in front of fans tonight, including skills, dunk and three-point contests with both Alabama coaches addressing the crowd in attendance.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama men's and women's basketball hosted Tide Tipoff on Friday night inside Foster Auditorium. The even marked the first opportunity for both teams to showcase their talents in front of fans and students ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Tide Tipoff, which resumes after a one-year delay due to COVID-19, featured a wide variety of entertainment ranging from lively player introductions to highlight dunks by freshman J.D. Davison and senior Keon Ellis of the men's team.

Both Alabama coaches Kristy Curry and Nate Oats addressed the crowd at different points, with each of them having a similar message to share: they're both excited about their respective groups as the 2021-22 college basketball season approaches. 

"Tonight was important for both programs," Curry said. "And we're just really excited to continue to keep coming in and keep practicing, but we need to play and we need to be in different environments, and I thought tonight was a good opportunity for that."

Meanwhile, Oats had nearly the same recall of what tonight meant, adding the dunk contest was something he was excited to watch. As for who competed in the contest, forwards Darius Miles, Juwan Gary and Keon Ellis joined freshman guard JD Davison as the four contestants.

"The dunk contest was great. Everybody was excited. You heard them chanting JD's name," Oats said. "The dunk he pulled off, I had never seen before. I asked him if he invented it or stole it from somebody."

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Davison, thanks to his highlight-filled high school career, was the player who got the loudest crowd reaction. However, it was Ellis who won the championship round thanks to a tomahawk-style dunk which got the fans on their feet.

Women's players Hannah Barber, a senior guard, and Brittany Davis, another Tide veteran, also attracted loud reactions upon their introductions and participation in the skills and three-point competitions.

After all the player festivities, Oats wrapped up Tide Tipoff by addressing the crowd and specifying Alabama men's challenging non-conference schedule, which features three of the four teams from the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. He also  added what's stood out in preseason practice from each of the three freshman signings, Davison, Charles Bediako and Jusaun Holt.

"It was fun. Good for our players," Oats said. "Obviously it's not a game, but excitement is in the air. That's the beauty of college athletics, you get to play in front of your students. I think we'll have a little more pep in our step tomorrow at practice."

For the men's team, Alabama begins its season with a charity exhibition this Sunday against Louisiana. Its season will officially begin on Nov. 9 when the Crimson Tide hosts Louisiana Tech.

On the women's side, the Crimson Tide has an exhibition versus Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 4, five days prior to its regular season kick off Nov. 9 at home against Charleston Southern.