Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats can roll over Crimson Tide opponents with impressive roster depth.
There is a credible claim Alabama basketball has its deepest bench – ever. With all the great Alabama basketball players of the last five decades, there was talent slippage at the end of the bench. The Crimson Tide could sometimes effectively go nine deep, but usually, the talent fell off considerably after the eighth, and at times, the seventh player in the rotation.
It appears Nate Oats is writing a new Crimson Tide story. Eleven Alabama Crimson Tide players should see action for the Crimson Tide in November and December. The only reason the other two of the 13 scholarship players will not play early is health.
Redshirt freshman, Juwan Gary is expected to play later in the coming season. He is still recovering from a knee injury last year and is not yet ready for competition. Incoming freshman, Alex Tchikou has an Achilles injury and will miss the 2020-21 season.
What the other 11 scholarship players have in common is they can all shoot. Based upon numerous reports, even Herbert Jones now joins his 10 teammates as an outside shooting threat. Nate Oats will have no problem playing the four-out and five-out offensive systems he prefers.
That is good news for Alabama basketball fans but it is not the best news. Less obvious, but arguably more important is a steady rotation of fresh bodies on the court. Oats’ uptempo style not only wears down opponents, it can also tire his players. Tired players have a tendency to rest on defense. Playing 11 players, any lack of defensive effort will not be excused. Play hard every minute, on both ends of the court, or take a bench breather.
What can be expected for the 2020-21 season is a Crimson Tide team better offensively and defensively, on the boards and in transition. There will be bumps and disconnects as Oats molds his team. The mixture of talent will not mesh in every game. It is fair to assume before the end of January, opponents of Alabama basketball will face a hard to beat Crimson Tide team.
Alabama basketball fans wonder how Oats will manage his rotation. We will have to wait and see. It is important to remember, some positions, especially point guard do not really apply to the Nate Oats system. Jahvon Quinerly will be the primary lead guard, but many of the Tide’s guards and wings will be interchangeable. Along with Quinerly, the earliest impact from new players should come from Jordan Bruner, Keon Ellis, Josh Primo and James Rojas.
The first Alabama basketball game of the new season is Nov. 25. The Crimson Tide will play Jacksonville State in Tuscaloosa.