Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats with six options for four spots

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

The new normal for college basketball rebuilds is in full swing. Alabama basketball, like many programs, is experiencing considerable turnover. Rather than a failing for Nate Oats, the Transfer Portal-driven terrain of college basketball provides opportunities to upgrade a roster.

Sometimes player exodus is the byproduct of off-the-rail programs like LSU and Georgia. In more cases, coaches like Arkansas’s Eric Musselman have learned to regularly rebuild and better rosters.

Such a transition is taking place in Tuscaloosa. Nate Oats is putting the pieces together for a roster capable of being one of the SEC’s top teams next season.

With the widespread assumption, JD Davison will enter the NBA Draft, Oats will have four roster positions to fill. Four returning players, Noah Gurley, Charles Bediako, Darius Miles and Nimari Burnett will join five newcomers. The incoming class might be the best ever for the Crimson Tide.

The six players listed below are currently the top Tide transfer prospects. Two are big men and it is not anticipated Nate Oats would choose to add both. Two are point guards and again, Oats probably would not choose to add both. The Portal’s available players changes daily and Nate Oats, unless he is sure of a player choice can afford to be patient.

Alabama basketball fans have recently been hopeful one of LSU’s exiting players, Brandon Murray might be a Tide option. Apparently, Murray wants to make a quick decision and according to some Alabama basketball insiders, Oats was not ready for a decision by Murray.

Alabama Basketball Targets

The players below are listed by a best guess of the highest-valued targets.

  •  Mark Sears – Ohio transfer; 6’1″ PG. Sears plans a visit to Tuscaloosa for the A-Day weekend. He would bring solid and aggressive play to the position. Though maybe not actually more than six feet, he has a strong body to take SEC pounding when going to the basket. Last season he made threes at 40.8%. UPDATE:  Sears announced Thursday afternoon he will join the Crimson Tide.
  • Jalen Bridges – West Virginia transfer; 6’7″ forward. Bridges is also planning an A-Day weekend visit. Bridges showed real talent in his redshirt freshman season at West Virginia. Last season, as a sophomore, he started every game but his performance dipped. In his two-season career, he has been a solid wing player that does not rely on volume shooting to score. His career three-point accuracy is 35.6% and last season he was 82.3% at the foul line.

Nate Oats has lots of competition for Sears and Bridges.

  • Antonio Reeves – Illinois State transfer; 6’4″ guard. Reeves has 60 starts in his three-season Illinois State career. Last season he made threes at 39% and was 81.8% at the foul line.
  • Jaelin Llewellyn – Princeton transfer; 6’2″ PG. Llewellyn has started every game in three Pincton seasons. He is a good ball-handler and made threes last season at 38.6%.
  • Johni Broome – Morehead State transfer; 6’10” forward. Broome is an excellent rebounder and defender. He is not a three-point threat but is an efficient scorer without the long ball.
  • Jake Stephens – VMI transfer; 6’10”, 266 lbs. center. Stephens can use his size inside and has great shooting range, making threes last season at 49%. He is also very good at the foul line at 80.1% in his four VMI seasons. He has started 98 college games.

While not being chased by quite as many schools as Sears and Bridges, the four players above a drawn much interest.

Note: all stats provided by

Next. Landing a 3-point sharpshooter. dark

What will happen next for Nate Oats? An NBA announcement by JD Davison is likely to come next.