Nate Oats' coaching job in 2024 may be his best one yet

Alabama v Auburn
Alabama v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

Since the moment Alabama Basketball signed Nate Oats as the program's head coach, he's become one of the best head coaches in all of college basketball.

In his time at Alabama, Oats has a record of 110-49 with a 59-25 record in the SEC. If you omit his first season in Tuscaloosa, he is 94-34 with a 51-15 record in conference play. He's won both the SEC regular season and the conference tournament twice while winning the SEC Coach of the Year in 2021, and he has a team this season that can give him a third conference crown.

The job Oats has done in 2023-24 may be Oats' best coaching job at Alabama, even with his team going 31-6 last season.

Roster turnover is part of college basketball and something every program deals with. However, no one lost more than Nate Oats did heading into this season. He lost Brandon Miller to the NBA Draft, who went second overall after scoring 18.8 points per game to lead the SEC. He'd lose another first-round pick in Noah Clowney, who went 21st in the draft after scoring 9.8 PPG and 7.9 rebounds per game. Charles Bediako likely should have returned to Tuscaloosa but instead went to the draft, where he went undrafted and could've given this year's team a major boost.

Nate Oats' team was also hit hard by the transfer portal, losing several players who could've been starters or rotational players this season. Jahvon Quinerly played for Nate Oats for three seasons before leaving for Memphis and was Bama's sixth man last season, scoring nearly ten points per game. Nimari Burnett was poised for a bigger role after playing 15 minutes a game, but decided to leave for Michigan. Jaden Bradley likely would've played the biggest role of the group, playing 20 minutes a game as a freshman and scoring six points a game.

Not only has Nate Oats dealt with losing key players, but he lost all of his key assistants, all of whom went on to be head coaches. Antoine Pettway left for Kennesaw State where he's 14-13, Bryan Hodgson went to Arkansas State and is 13-14, and Charlie Henry is 5-22 at Georgia Southern.

Despite all of the turnover the team had to deal with, it's arguable that this season's Alabama Basketball team is better than the group from 2023. Offensively, the team is scoring 90.7 points per game, which is tied with Arizona for the most in the country and is an 8.5-point increase over last season. The improvement comes despite the team losing five of its top six scorers from 2023. The team has lowered its turnovers per game from 14.1 to 12.3 per game. The team has also taken massive jumps in shooting percentage from the field, from three, and at the free-throw line.

The team has taken a step back defensively, allowing 76.8 points per game after allowing just 68.3 points per game last season. This was to be expected after losing Charles Bediako and Noah Clowney, who each blocked a shot per game and were difference-makers inside.

The most impressive part of what Nate Oats has done this season is the group he's done it with. In 2023, the team had Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney as NBA first-round prospects. It had pros like Josh Primo and Herb Jones in 2021, as well as Kira Lewis Jr. in 2020. None of the players on this season's team will pop up in any of the NBA mock drafts circulating, despite the group leading the country in scoring.

This year is Nate Oats' finest as the Alabama Basketball coach

This season, Nate Oats has shown his coaching prowess more than he ever has while at Alabama. He has the Alabama Basketball team atop the SEC without any significant NBA prospects, compared to other teams in the conference who may have multiple candidates to be first-round picks.

The loss of all of his assistants in one offseason, after not losing any previously during his tenure at Alabama, has increased his responsibilities. Despite having to do more in the day-to-day coaching aspect of his job, Nate Oats still has the nation's sixth-ranked recruiting class with two five-star recruits and a four-star recruit.

This season may be the year that Nate Oats is finally recognized as one of the top coaches in the sport.

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Note: All Stats via ESPN