The Alabama Basketball roster experienced a lot of shifting, moving, and uncertainty this offseason, and the backcourt was no exception to the rule.
Bama ultimately retained senior guard Mark Sears, who started every game for the Crimson Tide last year and averaged 12.5 points per game. The rest of the backcourt has been completely retooled, despite featuring no true seniors last season.
Fairly early in the offseason, guards Nimari Burnett and Jaden Bradley both entered the transfer portal. Both were quality role players last season for Bama, and will be missed primarily for their contributions on the defensive end of the floor. Burnett eventually signed with Michigan, while Bradley landed at Arizona.
Around that same time, Bama’s starting backcourt of veteran guards Mark Sears and Jahvon Quinerly entered the NBA Draft, leaving major question marks at the position. Amidst this uncertainty, Coach Nate Oats added transfer guards Aaron Estrada and Latrell Wrightsell Jr. out of the portal.
Sears and Quinerly withdrew from the draft at the deadline, and Alabama Basketball appeared to have a loaded backcourt for a brief period in time. In the last week of June, Jahvon Quinerly suddenly entered the portal and recently committed to Memphis.
The loss of Quinerly has largely been downplayed, as he was inconsistent at times and Alabama is not lacking in backcourt talent. However, I believe he was going to be a significant player in 2023-24, and therefore is a significant loss. When he transferred, the Crimson Tide lost perimeter shooting, self-creation and playmaking, as well as a ton of college basketball experience.
Alabama Basketball: Who is set to benefit from Quinerly’s departure?
Though his career has had its ups and downs, Jahvon Quinerly became one of the most decorated players in school history during his three seasons donning an Alabama Basketball uniform.
Quinerly helped the Tide to two SEC regular season titles, two conference tournament crowns, and two Sweet 16 appearances. He was named SEC Tournament MVP in 2021 and earned SEC 6th Man of the Year honors coming off of a torn ACL in 2022-23.
It’s pretty clear that the two players set to benefit from Quinerly’s untimely exit are transfer additions Aaron Estrada and Latrell Wrightsell Jr. Both are talented combo guards that can score and distribute, and both will probably see major minutes alongside Mark Sears in the Alabama backcourt.
In my opinion, Hofstra transfer Aaron Estrada could be a breakout player for the Crimson Tide. He is a legitimate three-level scorer and NBA-level shot creator. With Quinerly heading out, the backcourt doesn’t feel as crowded and role definition should not be an issue. I think Estrada can thrive in Tuscaloosa and become one of the premier scorers in the SEC, if not all of college basketball.
This retooled Alabama Basketball roster will have to mesh and develop chemistry fairly quickly, but plenty of other teams are in the same boat. At the very least, Bama hoops should continue to be an exciting team with dynamic guard play.