Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats Tide hoops resurgence has solid foundation


Alabama Basketball is one season away from proving what Nate Oats has built is not a one-hit-wonder. What Nate Oats is doing is not unique to basketball. Some NBA teams have been doing it for years. Analytics feeds the Oats’ system, but his philosophy is not just numbers-driven.

The style of play Nate Oats espouses and recruiting are symbiotic. Volume shooting does not lead to more game-winning points without good scorers. Good, and even more so, great scorers want to play in a system that gives them freedom on offense. They want to play fast, get up the court and see only green lights for attacking and shooting.

The game of basketball Nate Oats plays is the kind of basketball most players want to play. That explains the influx of talent to Tuscaloosa.

Nate Oats basically offers a deal. For players to be given the freedom they want, they must play the defense he wants. It worked last season. It will work even better next season when the Alabama Crimson Tide roster is filled with more talent.

Nate Oats explains his system,

"I think a lot of people don’t get it. Some coaches think you can’t play fast and still be great on D. Well, no. You can. Offensive pace shouldn’t dictate defensive effort."

Oats is not worried about offending other coaches. He is not bashful and is at times brash. The Crimson Tide’s success in his second season did not surprise Oats. He believes what he teaches and he is adept at getting his players to believe as well.

There is nuance to Oat’s system as well. It is more than volume shooting and tenacious defense. Spacing is vital, as is distribution. Toughness is a must. Players don’t get benched for missing threes but they do for foolish turnovers, failing to hit the glass and defensive lapses.

Oats did not design the dribble-drive, motion offense the Crimson Tide run. He has been learning it, tweaking it, improving it since his years as a math teacher and a coach at Romulus High School.

Play Alabama Basketball Nate Oats style or get left behind

Alabama Basketball could be nearing a point when those not playing the ‘Ball and Oats’ style are left behind. There is a catch, or better stated a crunch time scenario. In end-game situations, a team’s production on one or two possessions is sometimes the difference between winning and losing. Then, every possession must be valued, and suddenly some shots are not good shots. A team, both smart and disciplined, prevails in those game situations. Based on frequently effective performance, when the Tide came out of timeouts last season, Nate Oats has crunch time covered as well.

dark. Next. By one measurement UA and Duke are talent leaders in '21-22

The ’21-22 season may see a power shift in SEC basketball. The Crimson Tide will be in a strong position but until the transfer wars are over, the other SEC teams are unpredictable.