Bama Hoops can’t lose with NBA Draft Decisions

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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Coach Nate Oats and a disaster-proof roster

Obviously, it benefits the Crimson Tide if one or both of these players comes back to school for another year. However, I’d argue that Bama would be just fine without them. Coach Nate Oats and his staff have been excellent this offseason in terms of talent acquisition and roster building, and have assembled one of the deepest teams in the sport. 

Coach Oats has essentially disaster-proofed his roster after some late departures left Bama in a pinch last offseason. In the spring, starting center Charles Bediako went against all conventional wisdom and entered the NBA Draft. Later, starting point guard Jahvon Quinerly not only transferred out of the program, but waited almost until July to do so. 

Even with these apparent holes in the roster, Oats took the Tide to its first-ever Final Four. Sears’ meteoric rise and a couple of key transfer additions ensured that Bama was fine in the backcourt. Down low, Grant Nelson, Nick Pringle, and others used a committee approach to mitigate the effects of playing without a true center. Still, some will claim that the absence of an imposing center kept Alabama from doing even more this past season. 

Oats will not have the same issues this year, regardless of what Sears and Stevenson ultimately choose. With Aden Holloway and Labaron Philon coming on as lead guards and sharpshooters Latrell Wrightsell, Chris Youngblood, and Houston Mallette all capable of playing the two, Alabama would be fine in the backcourt even without Mark Sears. 

Similarly, Grant Nelson’s return and the commitment of Cliff Omoruyi made it less of a necessity and more of a luxury for Bama to retain Jarin Stevenson. Additionally, versatile frontcourt signees like Aidan Sherrell, Naas Cunningham, and Derrion Reid could give the Tide more minutes off the bench if Stevenson stays in the draft.