Bama Hoops to have nearly endless lineup combinations

Alabama v Connecticut
Alabama v Connecticut / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Alabama’s depth and versatility on the basketball court will be something to behold in 2024-25. It will be up to Coach Nate Oats and his staff to trot out the right lineups at the proper times, but the options will be limitless. The Tide will likely do a lot of early-season experimenting with different lineup combinations to find what works best. 

I don’t expect Alabama to deploy a platoon system, but it certainly could. Consider the hypothetical starting lineup of Mark Sears, Latrell Wrightsell Jr., Chris Youngblood, Grant Nelson and Cliff Omoruyi. This would be one of the best and most experienced lineups in all of college basketball.

Even so, Bama could replace the entire group with another very competitive lineup in Aden Holloway, Houston Mallette, Derrion Reid, Jarin Stevenson, and Aiden Sherrell. This group consists of four former 5-star recruits, two of whom already have a year of SEC experience, and a sharpshooting wing with 90 career starts under his belt.

Of course, Alabama would probably divide up some of that first-team experience if it were to do a true platoon system, but this is just a demonstration of how good the Tide's second unit could be. Even still, the Tide would have borderline 5-stars Labaron Philon and Naas Cunningham, as well as frontcourt returnee Mouhamed Dioubate, as reserves.

Situational lineups

Go big or go home

If it wants to put more size on the floor, Bama could move Jarin Stevenson into a stretch four role alongside Omoruyi. Grant Nelson is mobile enough to play the three for short stretches and would give Alabama a massive frontcourt lineup with Aiden Sherrell still there to provide additional depth. 

Bombs away

Alabama will be one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country next year, but say it wants to put a particularly potent lineup on the court. It could keep Sears and Wrightsell in the backcourt and have Youngblood and Mallette play the wings as small-ball forwards. This would allow the Tide to field a remarkable four 40+ percent three-point shooters, all of whom can create off the bounce as well. Needless to say, this would be very difficult for other teams to guard.

In this case, Alabama would probably want to keep Omoruyi at the five for rebounding and rim-protection purposes, but it would even have the option to put Stevenson, Nelson, or Sherrell at center to add even more shooting potential and give a five-out look offensively.

Ball handling & defensive versatility

Point guard additions Aden Holloway and Labaron Philon can be factored into the equation when Bama needs more ball-handling, perhaps when an opponent is pressing or applying excessive ball pressure. Freshman forwards Derrion Reid and Naas Cunningham are long, versatile athletes that have high defensive upside and can be used in a variety of ways off the bench. 

It will be nearly impossible for opposing teams to make this Alabama squad uncomfortable. While college basketball teams don’t often assemble lineups based on a specific need or aspect of the game, the fact that the Crimson Tide can do this is impressive in itself. The Tide will be very malleable and will be able to adapt to any situation. 

In terms of realistic lineup expectations, I anticipate Mark Sears, Grant Nelson, and Cliff Omoruyi to be on the court most of the time, with the rest of the minutes being divided up fairly evenly amongst Wrightsell, Youngblood, Mallette, Holloway, Reid and Stevenson.