Alabama Basketball and Nate Oats hit it ‘big’ on Monday, with Grant Nelson deciding to join the Alabama Crimson Tide for the 2023-24 season. Many college basketball experts consider Nelson to be the top available player in the Transfer Portal.
Note: Multiple credible sources have stated Nelson is “expected” to join Alabama, but as of 4:45 PM CST on Monday, there had been no official announcement.
It came down to the Crimson Tide and the Arkansas Razorbacks for the 6’11”, stretch-4. Nelson is not a traditional center, but will also be able to fill in at this point if needed. He is a scorer, a good rebounder, plus a solid ball-handler and passer. Last season at North Dakota State, Nelson averaged 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. His field-goal shooting was 52.1% and he was 72% at the foul line.
The only blemish in his three-season career at NDSU is 30.7% shooting from outside the arc. If he can bump that percentage up, north of 33% in the Nate Oats system, Nelson will be one of the top offensive players in the SEC.
Some Alabama basketball fans believe in Naelson’s transition from the Summit Conference to the SRC, Nelson’s production will go down. No doubt, he will face tougher defensive pressure from SEC players. He could also prosper by not having to carry the Crimson Tide offensively. A better reason why his offensive production might slide down by four or five points per game is he is not likely to play 30 minutes per game. Noah Clowney averaged 25.4 minutes last season. Brandon Miller averaged 32.7 minutes, but no other Alabama player hit 30 minutes.
One of Nelson’s games from last season suggests SEC defenders will be no problem for him. He had 17 points and six rebounds against Arkansas in 21 minutes of play.
Nate Oats still needs another big body, who could rotate at center with Nick Pringle. There was optimism Arthur Kaluma would visit Tuscaloosa this week, but the former Creighton forward decided to transfer to Kansas State instead.
Another Alabama Basketball Target
Jarin Stevenson is another top target who some have expected would announce a re-classification to the 2023 class and choose Alabama Basketball over North Carolina. Stevenson has strong connections to the Tar Heels program, but following Noah Clowney’s path to the NBA through Tuscaloosa might swing him in the Crimson Tide’s favor.
Nate Oats and his staff have been in contact with other big men, but none of them are at the level of providing immediate help to the Crimson Tide as is Grant Nelson, and possibly Jarin Stevenson.
After adding Nelson Alabama Basketball has two roster openings left.
Alabama basketball fans are concerned about a recent injury to incoming freshman, Mo Dioubate. The 6’7 forward was reported to have a meniscus tear but is expected to be at full speed within three months.