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Avery Johnson, Alabama
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Late last week, rumblings started that The University of Alabama would be looking for a new men’s basketball head coach. Reports surfaced the Crimson Tide and Avery Johnson were negotiating a buyout to hit the reset button on the program after four years in Tuscaloosa.

While many expected the two parties to part ways by end of the day Friday, it didn’t happen until Sunday morning. However, it is official and Alabama is looking for a new basketball coach for next season.

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So what’s next for the Crimson Tide?

The biggest coaching prospect could be Iowa State’s Steve Prohm, who led the Cyclones to the Big 12 Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth before losing to Ohio State in the first round.

Prohm is an Alabama alum and appears to be the first call Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne makes, but he is not the only name on the list.

Several names are starting to pop up, such as former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and Buffalo head coach Nate Oates. There are also whispers among fans of names like former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and current Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, who coached the Florida Gators.

Those last two names may be pipe dreams for Tide fans, but who knows? Pitino, who left the game in disgrace, might want to come back to college and redeem himself.

And are the rumors that Donovan is dissatisfied with OKC true? If so, could this be his way out?

Even after the NIT opening-round loss to Norfolk State, many believed Alabama would retain Avery Johnson at least one more season. Then, this happened:

“We saw (them) in warmups and thought that it was going to be sweet, the way they (were) lagging around and stuff,” Norfolk State’s Steven Whitley told reporters.

This may have been the quote that sealed Johnson’s fate. Many fans have seen this over the past few weeks with this basketball team, but this was the first time a player or a coach from an opposing team actually said the words.

That one quote may have changed the landscape of Alabama basketball for years to come.

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