Alabama Basketball: Will Nate Oats leave Tide for UNC?

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama basketball fans are holding their breath.

In just two years, Alabama basketball turned the Crimson Tide from a bubble team to an SEC powerhouse. Despite losing in the Sweet Sixteen this year, recruiting suggests that Alabama basketball is only starting something special.

Nate Oats has already signed a contract extension with the Tide, and he has said he is staying in Tuscaloosa. However, a rare opportunity might arise this offseason.

Roy Williams is retiring from basketball. After success with Kansas, he took over as the head coach of the North Carolina Tarheels in 2003. He has since won three national championships with UNC. Now that he is retiring, one of the hottest coaching openings in college basketball is available.

UNC has more history than almost any college basketball program. They would be one of the few teams that could afford Nate Oats’ buyout. They have massive recruiting pull, and they actually a basketball school.

Still, will they consider hiring Nate Oats? He has to be on their list. They might go for a more-established coach with ties to UNC, but Nate Oats has rebuilt Alabama basketball in a short amount of time. His analytics mindset is valuable, and he is clearly a great coach and leader. If he can turn Alabama into a powerhouse, imagine what he could do with an established program with consistent recruiting recognition.

However, this is a double-edged sword. North Carolina will consider Oats, but will he consider the Tarheels? If you take him for his word, it appears that he is set on staying in Tuscaloosa for the foreseeable future. He has developed relationships with the players, and his family has made Tuscaloosa a home. However, we’ve seen coaches lie about sticking around before. Most famously, Nick Saban said he would not be leaving the NFL for Alabama.

When Oats made those comments, he surely did not expect a job like UNC’s to be open. However, there is still a great chance that he sticks with Alabama basketball. He signed a contract extension early for a reason. If he wanted out, he would not have added money to his buyout.

Next. April NFL Mock Draft. dark

We’ll see what happens, but there is an above-average chance that Oats is here to stay. That might be the bias talking, but it should be a safe prediction for right now.