Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats and a quick juggling act

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

After Alabama Basketball’s abrupt exit from the NCAA Tournament, Nate Oats has no time to take a break. Even with the Big Dance continuing for another week, Nate Oats must aggressively work on the 2023-24 Alabama basketball team.

It will not be easy. Oats must replace two assistant coaches he has deep connections with, and who performed wonderfully in key roles. In terms of defense, the main guy for Nate Oats has been Charlie Henry. The results have been outstanding.

Charlie Henry is the new head coach at Georgia Southern. Henry may not have flown directly from Louisville to Statesboro, but he will sprint into the new opportunity immediately. Possibly an even bigger loss for Nate Oats is the exit of Bryan Hodgson to take the head coaching job at Arkansas State. Hodgson has been with Nate Oats for eight seasons, following Oats from Buffalo to Tuscaloosa.

Hodgson is not only a highly respected recruiter, but he has also been the Crimson Tide’s most prolific recruiter over the last three classes. Brandon Miller grew up an Alabama fan and that might have been enough for him to come to Tuscaloosa. But the relationship Bryan Hodgson built with Miller was a big factor in Miller’s final decision.

Fortunately for Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball, Antoine Pettway, who is also an outstanding recruiter, is sticking with the Crimson Tide.

Nate Oats must identify, interview and hire two new assistants. At least one of them might need to be added quickly. The reason why is roster building for next season. Alabama basketball insiders expect Oats will have two open roster slots to fill.

The slots would come from departures by Jahvon Quinerly and Noah Clowney. Neither player has publicly hinted what their decision will be. They have until April 23 to declare for the NBA Draft. That is not a hard cutoff, as players can opt to return for another college season as late as May 31.

It is possible Nate Oats knows what Quinerly and Clowney intend to do. But if he doesn’t, he can’t afford to wait. Top Transfer Portal players get locked down quickly.

Alabama Basketball and the Transfer Portal

Several names have been mentioned as transfer candidates. Where Oats is, in the process with most of them is not known. We do know this week, Alabama will have an in-home visit with FIU transfer, Denver Jones. Jones has already visited DePaul. He has additional visits planned with Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Oklahoma. Jones is a guard who averaged 20.1 points and two assists this season. From outside the arc, he was 37.1%.

Denver Jones is from the Huntsville area of Alabama and would be a great fit for the Crimson Tide.

It is also known Alabama has reached out to the Pac-12, 6th Man of the Year, Reese Dixon-Waters. Dixon-Waters is a 6’5″ guard who averaged more than 10 ppg, coming off the bench for USC.

What will Quinerly and Clowney do?. dark. Next

Alabama basketball fans can only guess what Nate Oats will do first and how soon. He has no choice but to move quickly.