Alabama Basketball: John Petty return will impact Crimson Tide rotation

Alabama basketball and Nate Oats are lucky to have another season from John Petty

For Alabama basketball Signing Day was huge. Five new players were added for the Crimson Tide 2020-21 roster. In ways, gaining the return of John Petty and Herbert Jones was as big.  With the incoming players, the return of two injured players from last season, and a now-eligible Jahvon Quinerly, nine new players will compete for playing time.

John Petty and Herbert Jones will be leaders. In different ways, both can also be game-changers. They will need solid help from more than just Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly.

Pre-season Alabama Basketball Depth Chart

A signing class rated at No. 12 by the 247Sports Composite does not reflect the addition of graduate transfer Jordan Bruner. Adding the three players who sat last season, Nate Oats will field a team in which six of the 13 players are new to the Crimson Tide.

Though driven by a different situation, such a transition is similar to the metamorphosis Kentucky goes through every season. John Calipari fields a work-in-progress team every season. Alabama basketball coach, Nate Oats will do so as well.

Nate Oats will have plenty of flexibility. He can play the four-out and five-out sets he prefers. He can also wrap three, volume scorers around two tough inside guys to bolster defensive success.

Five-Out Alabama Basketball Rotation Set

  • Lead Guard – Jahvon Quinnerly or Josh Primo
  • Guard/Wings – John Petty, Jaden Shackelford, Herbert Jones, Josh Primo or Keon Ellis
  • An inside/outside Big – Jordan Bruner or Alex Reese

Four-Out Rotation Set

  • Lead Guard – Jahvon Quinnerly, Josh Primo or Herbert Jones
  • Guard/Wings – John Petty, Jaden Shackelford, Josh Primo or Keon Ellis
  • Small Forward – Herbert Jones or James Rojas or Juwan Gary
  • Center – Jordan Bruner or Alex Reese

Four-Out (when two bigs are needed defensively)

  • Lead Guard – Jahvon Quinnerly, Josh Primo or Herbert Jones
  • Guard/Wings – John Petty, Jaden Shackelford, Herbert Jones or Josh Primo
  • Bigs – Jordan Bruner and Alex Reese

Oats’ pace of play and foul trouble will influence the rotation pattern as much as matchups with opposing players. Defense and rebounding are the areas needing the most improvement. The offensive pace is designed to be relentless, leading to wearing out the other team. Fast, but still under control is key. Rotating 10 or more players keeps players fresh, but can also hamper efficiency. Nate Oats will need to coach as well as he and his staff have recruited.

The Nate Oats system is so fluid and so flexible, the three offensive sets listed are too rigid to describe actual play. Oats wants all his players to efficiently dribble, pass, defend, finish at the rim and shoot on the perimeter.

The style is basically ‘position-less’ basketball. ‘Five-out’ may sometimes mean five guards/wings. Will there be minutes for the other three scholarship players? Alex Tchikou, Keon Ambrose-Hylton and particularly, Darius Miles need to muscle up before extended action. All three have the talent to be first-year contributors on the perimeter. Their bodies may not be quite ready for the rigors of college play.

How far can the Crimson Tide go with the new roster? Some Alabama basketball fans are talking deep into an NCAA Tournament. There is much cause for optimism. There is also the reality that most of the roster talent is unproven.