Alabama Basketball: Testing the NBA waters time for Tide hoopsters

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

Talking about his Alabama Basketball roster this week, Nate Oats said there are players he expects to pursue NBA dreams. Note he used the plural form of ‘player’ and at the time he was not commenting on Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr., Jordan Bruner and Alex Reese moving on to professional basketball.

Thursday evening it was learned Jaden Shackelford is one of the players who will test NBA waters. Shackelford announced his decision on Twitter.

By not hiring an agent, Shack can gain important feedback from NBA teams. That feedback will likely lead to a decision to hone his game for another season with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Who else was Nate Oats referring to when he said ‘players’? Jahvon Quinerly is a player with a chance to play in the NBA. Using the same approach as Shack would help Quinerly know what areas of his game need improvement in order to make an NBA roster. Might there be others considering the same approach on the now 14-man Alabama Basketball roster? Crimson Tide fans have wondered if Josh Primo might try to be a one-and-done player. Or perhaps Keon Ellis might decide it’s time to make the jump.

Alabama Basketball Playing Time

Playing time next season might be a concern for one or two players. With all the talent coming in, even a nine-man rotation would leave only limited minutes for the remaining four Crimson Tide players. Not many players are as content with limited minutes as were Alex Reese and Juwan Gary this past season.

Even with Nate Oats mostly playing a three-guard system, those 60 game minutes will have to be shared between Quinerly, Shackelford, Josh Primo, Keon Ellis, along with newcomers J.D. Davison and Nimari Burnett. When Oats is content to be smaller, Primo and Ellis can play wing. Even there, the roster is deep with Darius Miles, Jusaun Holt and the new man of many positions, Noah Gurley.

The roster conflicts are a wonderful problem for Alabama Basketball that, for too many seasons, had too little depth. The Crimson Tide will be deep with bigs as well. Juwan Gary returns, along with Keon Ambrose-Hylton and James Rojas. Nate Oats reported Alex Tchikou is progressing from his Achilles injury. The 6-feet-11 forward needed to bulk up and according to Oats is now at 245 pounds. With the addition of Charles Bediako, the Alabama Basketball roster will have two, 6-feet-11 guys next season, along with 6-feet-9 Ambrose-Hylton whose length allows him to play bigger.

There will be an eventual minus-1 on the current 14-man roster. Who it will be, and when it will be known, is impossible to predict.

Next. Transfer Portal not what NCAA intended. dark

The transfer window will be open for a few months, with the new immediate eligibility rule requiring players to announce exits from current teams by July 1. College players have until May 30 to apply for early entry into the NBA Draft. They have until July 19 to withdraw their names.