Alabama Basketball: Setting realistic expectations for Jarin Stevenson

Alabama forward Jarin Stevenson (15) guards a teammate during practice for the Crimson Tide Men’s Basketball team Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.
Alabama forward Jarin Stevenson (15) guards a teammate during practice for the Crimson Tide Men’s Basketball team Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. /

One of the most exciting additions for Alabama Basketball in the 2023-24 season is freshman forward Jarin Stevenson. Stevenson was a 5-star recruit in the class of 2024 before deciding to reclassify to 2023 and play for Nate Oats this season.

Even after his reclassification, he was considered a 4-star recruit or higher across the industry. Oats was able to land Jarin Stevenson over the likes of North Carolina and others, despite Stevenson being a legacy recruit for UNC and growing up not far from campus.

At 6’11”, Stevenson will bring a lot of length and athleticism to the frontcourt for Alabama Basketball. He has drawn comparisons to Noah Clowney, who was a one-and-done standout for the Tide last year. Donning jersey no. 15 with a similar body type, Stevenson will likely closely resemble Clowney on the court.

Still, it might be excessive to expect him to match Clowney’s level of production in year one. Noah Clowney started 36 games for the Crimson Tide, ranked third on the team with just under 10 points per game, and was fifth in the SEC with nearly eight rebounds per contest.

While I think Stevenson has the talent level to produce similar numbers, he may not get the opportunity. For one, Stevenson is a young freshman that should be gearing up for his senior year in high school. Secondly, Alabama Basketball is much deeper in the frontcourt this season, largely due to the NCAA transfer portal.

Just like Charles Bediako and Nick Pringle manned the 5-spot a year ago, Pringle and West Virginia transfer Mohamed Wague are expected to handle center responsibilities in 2023-24.

Jarin Stevenson, like Noah Clowney, is a natural fit at the “4” position. Clowney really only had to beat out veteran Noah Gurley for the position, while Stevenson will have to compete with North Dakota State transfer Grant Nelson.

Gurley was a good player on both ends of the floor, but he did not have the NBA upside of Nelson, who has already received preseason first-team All-SEC honors.

This isn’t to say Jarin Stevenson won’t get his opportunity to shine this season. In fact, he logged a lot of playing time in Bama’s secret scrimmage loss to TCU and notched 10 points in the contest.

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The good news is that Alabama Basketball should be improved at the power forward position with the combined additions of Nelson and Stevenson. If Grant Nelson performs as expected, he will take some pressure off the talented freshman. Anything Stevenson can contribute beyond that would be icing on the cake.