Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats adds Nimari Burnett and other roster moves

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball got a new player on Thursday. Former McDonald’s All-American, Nimari Burnett is joining the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Burnett was hotly pursued by the Crimson Tide coming out of high school. In the 2020 class, Burnett was ranked No. 34 in the 247Sports Composite. He was rated the No. 6 combo guard in the class and while a 4-Star in the Composite list, he was rated a 5-Star by others. Among a host of offers from top programs, Burnett was landed by Chris Beard at Texas Tech.

Chris Beard is a defense-first coach and that served him well as he built the Red Raiders into a national power. Very few freshmen enter college understanding how to play defense. Nimari Burnett was a quick study and played solid defense for Texas Tech. His offensive contribution was a struggle, with a 28 percent made field goal rate, driven down by shooting only 17.4 percent outside the arc.

Burnett averaged close to 18 minutes per game for the Red Raiders but he decided to transfer after 12 games. His last game for Texas Tech was Jan. 5. Burnett was the first-ever McDonald’s All-American for the Red Raiders and Texas Tech fans were quite disappointed when he chose to leave. More than a few labeled him a quitter.

What Alabama Basketball gets with Nimari Burnett

Nate Oats was undeterred by what happened in Lubbock. Oats fully understands what he is getting in Burnett. The 6-feet-4 Burnett is more of a slasher than a shooter. He is a good ball-handler and with the exception of one game for the Red Raiders was good at not turning the ball over. He can get to the rim and he can finish better than some players on the Tide’s 2020-21 roster. He excels at the foul line, making 88.9 percent for the Red Raiders.

Burnett may not sign immediately. Nate Oats must do some Nick Saban-style roster management to make room for Burnett. Many Alabama basketball insiders presume roster room will become available by James Rojas deciding to transfer. Instead of Rojas, there could be another player or two considering a transfer.

Check out Burnett’s high school highlights below.

dark. Next. Crimson Tide highly ranked in 2021-22 preseason projections

Many Crimson Tide fans are hoping Noah Gurley will also decide to accept a Crimson Tide offer. The 6-feet-8, Furman Palidan, forward would be a great fit for the Nate Oats system. Gurley is expected to announce his new school on Sunday. With Burnett already driving a roster change, Crimson Tide fans will have to wait and see if Nate Oats has room for Gurley.