Alabama Basketball: Biggest SEC Transfer Portal winner not the Tide

Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball was helped by the Transfer Portal. So have most SEC basketball teams. Portal frenzy has ebbed but college basketball transfer decisions are made by players all year long. No one has done more positive work through the Portal than new Texas head coach, Chris Beard. A couple of SEC teams are not far behind.

The SEC has gained 49 players through the Portal. The most additions in the SEC are either four or five entering transfers at Arkansas, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. A major factor in adding transfers to a roster is the number of available slots. Nate Oats ended up with only two slots available to add to his Alabama Basketball roster. There was a chance that number would grow to three while Jaden Shackelford vacillated, but in the end, there was only room for Nimari Burnett and Noah Gurley.

So far, the Alabama Crimson Tide is the only SEC school with zero players lost to the Portal. Among the other 13 SEC schools, Texas A&M, Georgia and Vanderbilt with eight, exiting transfers top the league. Two of the eight Aggies have not yet found a new team. Vanderbilt and Georgia are in the same situation with two players still seeking new teams. South Carolina has seven players moving to new teams.

Alabama Basketball a big transfer winner or other SEC programs?

Even more than football, basketball rosters must be built on the basis of need. Nate Oats needed certain attributes from incoming players. On top of a strong recruiting class, Burnett and Gurley provide those attributes.

The incoming talent in each SEC recruiting class is less important than before the transfer explosion. But bringing in top high school players still matters. The Tennesee Vols, with the SEC’s top recruiting class, did not have room for much Portal activity. Here is a quick review of the SEC’s 2021 signing classes. The SEC’s top four, in order, were Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama Basketball and LSU.

How all the roster pieces fit for each school will determine success, but just looking at the Portal, four SEC schools stand out. They are Arkansas, Kentucky, Auburn and LSU. Mississippi State is probably fifth in the SEC in terms of positive Portal impact.

All five schools have rebuilt rosters to make their teams better than last season. Does that mean Arkansas and Kentucky or possibly LSU and Auburn have better chances to win the SEC than the Alabama Crimson Tide? It does not. A too early guess is those four teams, plus Alabama Basketball and Tennessee are the upper tier of the SEC and there might not be much separation among them.

Alabama Basketball Player Development

Player development means less and less with ‘one-and-dones’ and the Portal explosion. It is still a factor in team success and Alabama Basketball benefits from having Nate Oats. Players love playing in the Oats system and he more freely rotates players than many other coaches. The result is fewer players exiting each season. Guys like Darius Miles and Keon Ambrose-Hylton can be expected to be far better players in their second Crimson Tide seasons.

Next. The heat is on these SEC football programs. dark

Nate Oats will be able to go 10-deep in player utilization, without any significant dropoff in talent as players rotate in and out.