Speculating on possible lineup combinations for Alabama Basketball

Alabama v Connecticut
Alabama v Connecticut / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Alabama Basketball is on a tear under Nate Oats. In the last four years, Bama has won multiple conference championships, earned a no. 1 seed, and been to a Final Four. Heading into next season, the program has garnered more hype and expectation than perhaps any other time in its history. 

The Tide is still waiting on NBA Draft decisions from Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson. These are major pieces that will play huge roles if they return. However, thanks to the efforts of Coach Oats and his staff, Bama should be just fine either way

Let’s look at what the starting lineup could look like in the best case scenario. 

Alabama Basketball at full strength

1 Aden Holloway

2 Mark Sears

3 Latrell Wrightsell Jr./Chris Youngblood

4 Grant Nelson

5 Cliff Omoruyi

Needless to say, this lineup would contain very few weaknesses, if any, and would make Alabama a clear national championship contender. With Holloway and Sears, the Tide would have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the country. Wrightsell Jr., Youngblood, and maybe even Pepperdine transfer Houston Mallette would be interchangeable pieces on the wing, giving Alabama an abundance of shooting potential. Grant Nelson should make significant strides in year two, and should be even better playing a more natural position. Omoruyi gives Alabama the frontcourt piece it was missing last season, and will anchor what should be a much improved defense. When you factor in the depth this team has, its potential is near-limitless. 

Because the coaching staff did such a good job of talent acquisition this offseason, the Tide is virtually impervious to being hamstrung by late decisions. Last offseason, it was caught off guard by the somewhat puzzling departures of Charles Bediako and Jahvon Quinerly. That won’t be a problem this year. Even if Mark Sears stays in the draft, Alabama should have an impressive lineup. 

Alabama Basketball: Possible starting lineup without Mark Sears

1 Aden Holloway

2 Latrell Wrightsell Jr.

3 Chris Youngblood

4 Grant Nelson

5 Cliff Omoruyi

With this group, the Tide would have lots of positional versatility and very high offensive upside. It is missing the bona fide superstar in Sears, but this team would be very tough to contend with on both ends of the floor. Additionally, the strength of this Alabama team would be its depth.

Along with this solid starting five, Bama could trot out a second group consisting of Labaron Philon, Houston Mallette, Derrion Reid, Jarin Stevenson, and Aiden Sherrell. This second team, which includes three highly-touted freshmen, a transfer sharpshooter with lots of experience, and a versatile frontcourt piece who is clearly an NBA prospect, could probably contend with most starting lineups in college basketball. It is an extremely long and athletic group, perhaps even moreso than the proposed starting lineup.

This doesn’t even include Naas Cunningham, another 4-star freshman, and Mo Dioubate, who made significant contributions this past season. Alabama will be able to go two-deep at every position with very little dropoff, and should have the option to go three-deep at most of its frontcourt positions.

The Tide can also play with different lineups based on particular needs. It can put more ball-handlers on the floor if need be, line the perimeter with multiple 40% three-point shooters, and even deploy big lineups that can play lockdown defense and dominate the glass.

One of the deepest teams in the country while also possessing top-end talent and experience, look for Alabama Basketball to compete for championships in 2024-25 regardless of how the starting lineup shakes out.