A chip on the shoulder of Alabama’s Nick Pringle

Clemson v Alabama
Clemson v Alabama / Harry How/GettyImages

Senior forward Nick Pringle’s time at Alabama has been complicated to say the least. The ultra-athletic 6’9” forward started his college basketball career at Wofford and spent a season at Dodge City (KS) Community College before making his way to Tuscaloosa. 

As a junior, Pringle’s job was simple enough. The backup to starting center Charles Bediako, Pringle mostly played spot minutes as a lob-catching big, and proved to be one of the most powerful dunkers on the team.

The result of his role in combination with his style of play was an extraordinarily efficient season, albeit on minimal volume. Pringle averaged just 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, but he shot nearly 85 percent from the field. As late as February, he was 21-22 from the field and had not missed a shot since mid-November, knocking in 18 straight attempts.

Nick Pringle was also able to enjoy the experience of being on one of the best teams in school history. His eccentric personality, which was on display on social media and in his bench antics, made him a fan favorite. 

Heading into 2023-24, Pringle’s role figured to grow significantly with the somewhat surprising departure of Bediako. Asked to step up on a team without a traditional center, he played well early but struggled with consistency.

Pringle’s limitations as a player were exposed against certain opponents, and he was in and out of Coach Nate Oats’ doghouse throughout a rollercoaster of a senior season. He faced multiple suspensions, and at one point was replaced in the starting lineup by West Virginia transfer Mo Wague. 

However, Pringle bounced by strong, finding his niche in a role off the bench for the Crimson Tide. During a month-long stretch heading into the NCAA Tournament, he played the best basketball of his Alabama career and reached double figures in seven out of eight games.

Though he was quiet as a scorer in the Bama’s first three tournament games, he was active on the boards and played excellent defense. After an injury to one of Bama’s starters, he regained his spot in the starting lineup in the Tide’s Sweet 16 game against North Carolina. 

In the Elite 8, he played through an injury of his own and delivered what may have been the best all-around performance of his career. Pringle turned in 16 points, added season-highs of 11 rebounds and three assists, and provided invaluable intangibles to help lead Bama to a win.

His journey to get to this point may not have been linear or easy, but Nick Pringle can now say he played an instrumental role in the best two-year stretch in Alabama Basketball history.

Without him, the Crimson Tide would not have reached its first-ever Final Four.