Alabama Basketball: Who’s next for Nate Oats after Jalen Bridges to Baylor?


West Virginia transfer wing, Jaylen Bridges will not be joining Alabama Basketball after choosing Baylor instead. Bridges would have been a good fit for Nate Oats and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

As well as Nate Oats has done in bringing players to Tuscaloosa, losing Bridges to Baylor is not a shock. The Bears, led by Scott Drew have one of the nation’s top programs. The Crimson Tide beat them last season but as yet, the Crimson Tide is not a national contender equal to Baylor.

What will be Nate Oats’ next move? The top-rated player currently available through the Transfer Portal is 6’9″, small forward, Emoni Bates. Coming out of high school early, the 5-Star Bates was believed to be a future superstar in college and the NBA. He didn’t live up to that billing as a freshman playing for Penny Hardaway at Memphis. He has a long list of college suitors and the NBA G-League is also a possibility.

Alabama Basketball Transfer Radar

Other players believed to be on the Crimson Tide radar are 6’4″ guard Antonio Reeves, 6’10” forward Johni Broome, 6’8″ forward Emmanuel Acot, and 6’6″ wing David Jones. In addition, Jaelin Llewellyn, who announced a transfer from Princeton to Clemson, has changed his mind. After adding Mark Sears, whether the Crimson Tide needs another 6’2″ guard is debatable.

What the Crimson Tide needs most is a wing that can make threes, play solid defense and not be turnover prone. Reeves comes closest to those needs but physically is more of a big guard than a wing. He is also rumored to be high on Kentucky’s list.

Broome would bring strong inside defense and could provide valuable minutes backing up Charles Bediako. However, the Oats system might not need another big beyond Bediako, Nick Pringle and Noah Clowney, although Clowney’s game is better suited as a stretch four than a five.

The 6’8″ Acot is believed to be waiting on NBA feedback. He made threes at 36.7% last season with BYU, but in four college seasons, his shooting has been poor from the field and at the line.

David Jones has been a solid scorer for DePaul, but last season Jones made just 29.7% of his threes, along with a FG rate of 43.7% and 69.2% at the foul line. Given the Nate Oats proclivity to green light all players outside the arc, Jones appears to be a questionable addition. He is on Kentucky’s radar as well.

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After Jahvon Quinerly confirms a return, Oats will have two available scholarships. There will not be a lot of minutes available to more players unless in the next 10 days another Tide player decides to exit.