A late Transfer Portal exit by Jahvon Quinerly has surprised Alabama basketball fans. The immediate response to the news was concern Nate Oats suddenly does not have enough point guards on the 2023-24 roster.
It is believed Quinerly was likely to again be Alabama’s sixth man in the coming season. That was mostly the case last season when he averaged 21.2 minutes per game. Only three Crimson Tide players got more minutes last season, but Jahvon may be seeking a certain starting role.
Now that Nate Oats has three roster openings, Alabama fans can expect one to be filled by Grant Nelson and another by a good ball-handling guard. Though the Quinerly exit feels late in the annual college basketball cycle, it is not near the end of when players will move to new teams. That will be going on for at least another couple of months, and later with mid-year transfers.
Nate Oats can add a point guard, but he will be looking for more than traditional point guard skills. It is more accurate to state that Alabama without Quinerly needs another lead guard, but not an ‘everything-runs-through’ point guard. In the Nate Oats system of play, precise positions are less important. Remember how Herb Jones’ skills were expanded to include a point-forward role? To some extent, Oats is comfortable with position-less basketball, based on how many players have multiple proficiencies. Some Alabama basketball insiders have said Rylan Griffen will add point forward to his responsibilities. Griffen is reported to be taller than last season. If his ball handling has improved, he can become akin to a Herbert Jones-Brandon Miller hybrid for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Basketball and Lead Guards
Mark Sears can be expected to take the lead guard role for the Crimson Tide. He does not have Quinerly’s pace or the deftness to make quite as many flashy passes. But turnovers will be less of a problem with Sears. Last season Quinerly had the team’s highest turnover average, based on minutes played.
The buzz from Alabama basketball insiders is Aaron Estrada has looked great in summer practices. Estrada is bigger than Quinerly and comparable to Jahvon in three-point shooting proficiency. In the last two seasons at Hofstra, Estrada averaged nearly five assists per game.
Reports are Latrell Wrightsell Jr. has also performed well in practices. He made threes at 38.3% last season and was outstanding at the foul line. He also rebounds well for a 6’3″ guard.
Nate Oats will add another guard. A name being rumored is West Virginia’s Joe Toussaint.
Jahvon Quinerly leaving is not optimal, but the situation is manageable for Nate Oats. The hard reality of college basketball today is for most teams, rosters must be significantly rebuilt every year. Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball will be fine without Jahvon Quinerly.