Charles Bediako left to try the pros. He was Bama's leading shot blocker. So Tide Hoops Nation wants to know: Who will protect the rim?

We at SEC Media Days posed that question to both coach Nate Oats and veteran guard Mark Sears. They were both quick to answer. Here's what they said.

Nate Oats on defense and rim protection

"That's a good question, and we've talked a lot about defense with our guys. Been at Alabama four years. Two of the four we've been ranked in the top 3 of
the country in defensive efficiency. Those are the two years we won the SEC regular season, [and] tournament, both.

"When we've been good defensively, we've had really successful years. Our point with our guys, we got to be great defensively. We've done it two different ways. Three years ago we didn't really have an anchor like that, but we had Herb Jones, who was covering a lot of mistakes.

"Last year Charles covered a lot of mistakes. Put him at the rim, protected the rim well. We were able to take away threes. We don't have a Herb Jones and we don't have a Charles Bediako.

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"To answer your question about who's going to anchor it, there's some different options. [6-10 center] Nick Pringle has really improved, fouling a lot less. We need him to foul less and protect the rim more. He's getting better after

"I think the transfer, [6-11 center] Mohamed Wague, can do some of that
too." [Wague is currently not full-speed due to offseason foot surgery but is expected to be ready when the regular season opens.]

Mark Sears on who will guard the paint

"I say Nick Pringle, [6-10 freshman] Jarin Stevenson. [6-11 transfer] Grant Nelson has the ability to protect the rim as well."

"We have a lot of length. When we play defense and use our length that we have, offense will be very easy because all of us can put the ball in the basket."

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