No Final Four without Alabama Crimson Tide trio

It took many players on a deep Alabama Crimson Tide roster to reach the Final Four. Without the three returning players it would not have happened.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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During last season's Alabama Basketball offseason, there was an exodus of Alabama Crimson Tide players. Led by NBS first-round picks, Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney, three Alabama players left for professional basketball. Seven more players left the Crimson Tide through transfer, expired eligibility, and a non-basketball-related tragedy.

Before all the Alabama exits, building a new roster every season had already become the new normal in college basketball. Nate Oats was probably only surprised by the late decisions by Jahvon Quinerly and Charles Bediako.

What made the transition and rebuild more difficult, was that program success led to head coaching opportunities for Antione Pettway, Charlie Henry, and Bryan Hodgson. Suddenly Nate Oats was left with three returning scholarship players, plus redshirt Davin Cosby, and no assistant coaches.

Having few players and no assistant coaching staff proved to be no problem for Nate Oats. Oats attacked the challenge, as he does with every challenge. His enthusiasm, energy, and determination paid off. A repeat of an NCAA Tournament 1-Seed was not possible, but Oats brought in key transfers and added freshman talent. A 4-Seed has worked just fine.

Perhaps the biggest reason Nate Oats made the transition a success was the decisions by Mark Sears, Rylan Griffen, and Nick Pringle to return. Without the trio, there would be no Alabama Crimson Tide Final Four.