With the recent grad transfers the Crimson Tide basketball team has acquired, it’s easy to see the program on the rise.
For all their excitement, college sports miss out on one key component of professional sports: trades. The high-stakes trading that goes on at each professional sports deadline is mostly absent from collegiate football and basketball, and student transfers serve as the closest parallel. Although transfers are much different from mid or offseason trades, the ultimate effect (talent switching teams) does remain intact, providing an opportunity for teams to improve that is separate from recruiting.
Alabama added graduate transfers Corban Collins and Bola Olaniyan this offseason, gaining both talent and depth at key positions. While the acquisition of these two players will never compete with the flashy, top-ten signings of the best high school players, these transfers are a huge boost for Alabama basketball.
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Olaniyan and Collins add valuable talent for the Crimson Tide, and each should be able to contribute at guard and center, respectively. Olaniyan is an expert rebounder, and Collins averaged more than ten points per game in his last season. While it remains to be seen how much playing time each player sees this year, the added depth will be extremely helpful for Alabama.
It is also worth noting that these two bring veteran experience to the Tide as well. For a team that lost several seniors (including leading scorer Retin Obasohan) and transfers recently, the veteran experience of these two graduates will help this team find a balance between younger and older players.
Finally, the fact that Alabama was able to attract players of this caliber is yet another sign that this team is on the rise. The program has already made huge strides in recruiting since Avery Johnson’s arrival, and next year’s arrival of Daniel Giddens (currently sitting out a year per NCAA undergraduate transfer rules) should help this team even more. Last year was a great experience for Alabama basketball fans and there is even more reason for encouragement now.
Alabama is still a long way off from challenging programs like Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina for the nation’s top-rated high school prospects, but attracting players like Olaniyan, Collins, and Giddens shows that this program is on the rise.
With more veteran leadership and depth on the Tide, the near future is looking bright.