Estrada Knew Bama Was The Place For Him
How did Nate Oats land guard Aaron Estrada of Hofstra in the portal?
Estrada is the two-time reigning Colonial Athletic Association's player of the year. The first coach to reach out to Estrada was Oats, and the guard hasn't forgotten it. Estrada stepped out of class to take a phone call from Oats, he said last week at SEC Basketball Media Days.
It didn't take Oats long to pique Estrada's interest in heading south.
"He's very, very authentic. He keeps it real with you," Estrada noted. "That's kind of what I was looking for. He didn't try to sell me anything, when he was recruiting me. He kind of just kept it real with me. That's kind of what I was looking for.
"I already knew that I wanted to come. Once Coach Oats was the first coach to call me, I kind of had it my mind, like, [Alabama] is the spot I want to be at. I just didn't know, like Coach Oats was as a person. Once I kind of got to feel him out -- just really take in what he's about -- it was really, pretty much, an easy decision for me.
"When I came on visit, as soon as I got here -- their hospitality, how they took care of me and my family -- that's real big and that's what drew me in."
Oats propensity for sending players to the NBA was another factor.
"That was another reason why I chose to come here," Estrada said. "He proposed to me that his goal for being my coach is to get me to that next level. He said that's ultimately his goal. No other coach that recruited me kind of really talked about my next step. They kind of just talked about what I can do for them for this year, only."
Alabama competed with Kansas State, Florida State and Cincinnati for Estrada, who said he watched several of Alabama's games last season. He knew from afar that he would "fit perfectly into this type of system," and cited Alabama's ability to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last season despite "all the adversity they had."
Like his teams on the floor, Oat was relentless in his pursuit.
"He was talking to me the whole time," Estrada remembered. "I would say that's another thing that really drew me to him -- his consistency. He was very consistent throughout the process of recruiting me.
"It just showed me a lot. Showed me that he really wanted me, and that I was necessity. You want to play for a coach, or somewhere where you're needed."
Estrada seems to have found both at Alabama.
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Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison