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No athlete at Auburn, male or female, is more deserving of respect than Blanche Alverson.

Alverson, who played her last home Auburn basketball game Sunday, is very much a competitor. She’s a heck of a player. But there are lots of young men and women at Auburn that are competitive and are good players.

Alverson’s impact goes far beyond the basketball court.

She was elected homecoming queen, the first athlete ever to be so honored at Auburn. “Ballin’ For Books,” the charity she created, has been a tremendous success in providing books for underprivileged kids. She’s a leader on her team, a leader among Auburn athletes and Auburn students. She has a long list of academic honors.

Blanche Alverson has done it the right way, and she and her family deserve to be proud. …

First-year Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn has put a lot of emphasis on team-building functions. Based on Tweets from Auburn players and coaches, there was a bowling trip Sunday night.

Nothing, not even talent, is more important than chemistry on a college football team. Josh Bynes, the middle linebacker on Auburn’s 2010 national championship team, marveled Saturday at the closeness of that team and the belief players had in each other. Without it, not even Cam Newton would have been enough to get Auburn to the mountaintop. …

Bo Jackson seemed to have a big time at Saturday night’s basketball team. After holding up the “celebrity N” on the court, he went through student section giving high fives. Despite his fame, Bo is a remarkably down-to-earth guy. Hard to believe it’s been 31 years since I met him for the first time.

I don’t know how to compare athletes from different eras, but Bo is without question the greatest athlete I’ve seen in my lifetime. …

The Capital City Classic baseball game between Auburn and Alabama, set for Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, is fun and really good for charity. It matters more to fans, players and coaches for obvious reasons, but in the big picture it’s just another nonconference game. Auburn has won it the last four years. …

Auburn’s women’s basketball team escaped the first day of the SEC Tournament with Sunday’s win over Mississippi State, but the Tigers will play perhaps the hottest team in the league Thursday. LSU won its last six SEC games to finish 19-11 overall and 10-6 in the league.

Barring a miracle run in the tournament, Terri Williams-Flournoy’s first Auburn team is likely headed for the WNIT. …

The crowd support for Auburn’s men’s basketball, considering 13 losses in 14 games, has been nothing short of remarkable this season. People tend to forget that, when the Tigers won the 1999 SEC championship, Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum was consistently packed for SEC games. …

Until next time …

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