Shula pays visit to Hartselle
Nick Johnston, Sports Editor
How could Alabama head football coach Mike Shula not be a distraction?
Well, he can't – But he tried.
Shula showed up at the Pettey Center at Hartselle High Monday on a recruiting trip. No doubt he was there to talk with wide receiver Nikita Stover, who also plays basketball, but it was a special treat for head basketball coach Johnny Berry and his players.
"It was neat," Berry said. "And with everything you say, you know he's listening, and you're wondering what he's thinking.
"But, he's a real class guy. He stayed the whole time, and he wasn't really a distraction … Well, he was, but it wasn't on purpose."
Believe it or not, it's not the first time a NCAA D-I head coach has attended one of Berry's practices. Last season, Frank Solich, former head Nebraska coach recently fired, visited to talk with Brett Byford, who now is at Nebraska playing on the offensive line.
So, it's also not the first time his players have tried to impress a well-known coach.
"My basketball guys, they were doing stuff they haven't done all season," Berry said. "I don't know why they were trying to impress a football coach on the basketball court."
Junior Keith Rodgers had a good reason. The normally soft-spoken Rodgers was excited about Shula being there.
"I'm pretty excited for 'Kita (Stover)," he said. "Yeah, I was trying to show out a little bit … I got a little bit fancy … Maybe he can tell (UA head basketball coach Mark) Gottfried about me."
Stover did not disappoint in front of his future coach, either.
"Nikita had the best dunk I've seen him do," Berry said. "He tomahawked one with a 102-degree temperature."
Stover missed the Cullman game Tuesday night, suffering from the flu.