Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats makes roster adjustments for next season

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama basketball fans have been speculating for weeks how Nate Oats would manage the roster transition at the end of this season. Some of that speculation has been cleared up by Oats.

On Thursday it was reported Jahvon Quinerly, James Rojas and Keon Ellis will be honored at Senior Day, this Saturday in Tuscaloosa. The news signaled exits by the trio and was no surprise to most Crimson Tide fans. Quinerly was a member of the 2018 recruiting class and at 23, is the oldest Crimson Tide scholarship player. A recent NBA mock draft published by has Quinerly as a mid-second-round pick.

There is concern from Draft experts, that Quinerly is smaller than most successful NBA guards. His speed and quickness provide something of an equalizer. It appears Quinerly has nothing to gain from another season of college ball.

Keon Ellis is also projected as a second-round pick. Many Alabama basketball fans believe he is the Crimson Tide’s best all-around player. He is a solid defender, who can score from the outside and should have a good chance to make an NBA roster.

With the extra season offered by the NCAA because of COVID, all three guys could play another season of college ball. It will be interesting to see if James Rojas tries to do that with a program giving him more playing time.

After the decisions by the three players, the Crimson Tide has nine scholarship players eligible to return, along with five signed new players for next season. In addition, Nate Oats is still recruiting at least one more 5-Star prospect for next season.

There are multiple roster questions that may not be answered for months. Will Jaden Shackelford make himself available for the NBA Draft? The deadlines and decision dates stretch into the summer. Few mock drafts have Shackelford being selected, so another season of college basketball might benefit him.

Once projected as a one-and-done player, JD Davison is concerned by many NBA Draft experts a high, second-round pick. It should be remembered NBA teams often draft based on a player’s potential rather than performance.

It was also learned this week that Noah Gurley plans to return for next season. That leaves four other, current players that may not be with the Crimson Tide next season. They are Alex Tchikou, Keon Ambrose-Hylton, Juwan Gary and Darius Miles.

dark. Next. Current SEC Tournament seeding

The good news about the transition for next season is Alabama Basketball could field its most talented roster in many years – maybe, the best ever.