Alabama Basketball without Nimari Burnett for 6-8 weeks


Alabama Basketball head coach Nate Oats announced that the team will be without redshirt sophomore wing Nimari Burnett for at least 6-8 weeks. Burnett recently suffered a wrist injury that required surgery, and will be out of the lineup for a good chunk of the conference schedule.

The former Texas Tech transfer missed all of last season with a knee injury, but made his Alabama debut this year and has been a valuable addition to the lineup. Nimari Burnett started Alabama’s first nine games of the 2022-23 season, averaging 7.9 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 34.5 percent from the three-point line. It was announced shortly before the Memphis game that he would miss extended time with an injury.

Burnett’s greatest value has been his perimeter defense, particularly on the ball. He is often able to limit or even take away an opponent’s best perimeter scorer, forcing less capable players to beat the Crimson Tide. Nimari Burnett spent a lot of time in Alabama’s win over Houston harassing All-American guard Marcus Sasser, who made just two field goals the whole game.

Alabama basketball was one of the worst defensive teams in the nation last season. The team has shown lots of improvement this year, but was clearly missing Burnett in its most recent win over Memphis. The Crimson Tide allowed 88 points, even though the Tigers hit just one three-point shot. It also surrendered 30 points to point guard Kendric Davis.

Davis got hot down the stretch and was nearly able to single handedly upset the Tide. While Kendric Davis is one of the best guards in the country, he is far from the first elite scorer the Alabama backcourt has faced.

The Tide previously held Sasser and Liberty guard Darius McGhee to single digits, and forced North Carolina duo Caleb Love and RJ Davis into very inefficient nights. Kendric Davis appears to be the type of player that Nimari Burnett could’ve assisted in shutting down.

In his absence, Alabama basketball will need contribution by committee. Freshman guards Jaden Bradley and Rylan Griffen will likely take on expanded versions of their already-important roles. Bradley in particular will have to pick up some of the slack on defense. While he is still learning, he seems to take great pride in his defensive ability and brings a tenacious approach to that end of the floor. Junior Darius Miles saw extended minutes against Memphis, and should also see a continued increase in playing time.

While Nimari Burnett’s injury is certainly a loss for Alabama basketball, it will provide opportunities for other players to develop. Bama fans optimistically hope that these players will grow and improve in their new roles, and Burnett should be back in plenty of time for a postseason run.

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Even without its starting shooting guard, there are plenty of ways Alabama can improve as it wraps up the non-conference season and gears up for SEC play.