Nate Oats on Settling in at Alabama and the 2019-2020 Roster
Nearly two months have passed since Nate Oats was introduced as Alabama's new men's basketball coach, The former head coach at Buffalo has been hitting the ground running in terms of hiring a staff and assembling a roster for the 2019-2020 season..
During Thursday's edition of The Gary Harris Show, head coach Nate Oats discussed his transition to life in Tuscaloosa and the quality of the roster for his first season at Alabama.
In his reflection of why he chose Alabama for his next coaching destination, Oats listed multiple factors that affected his decision including the ability to compete for championships and the support structure to help him win big. Another deciding factor he brought up was the cultural fit his family felt in Tuscaloosa.
"The other thing was, I've got three girls and we wanted to go to a city that we felt comfortable raising a family in that had values like we have." Oats said. "Tuscaloosa's a lot more family oriented and have people a lot closer to our belief system."
On the floor, the first-year Alabama head coach will inherit nine players form the 2018-2019 roster including Herbert Jones, John Petty and Kira Lewis, Jr. and three players signed by Avery Johnson in the early signing period.
Oats also signed West Virginia transfer James "Beetle" Bolden, Findley Prep center Raymond Hawkins and Hutchinson Junior College All-American forward James Rojas to the roster since his hiring in March.
One player that Oats mentioned as a difference maker for this year's team is Rojas. The junior college All-American averaged 19 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 1.5 steals per game as a sophomore last season. Besides his skills, Oats described the intangibles he sees in Rojas.
"He's a really skilled, tough, hard-nosed winner is what he is." Oats said.
For any non-football head coach on the campus of the University of Alabama, embracing and using the tradition and popularity of Alabama football can help build publicity and recognition for their sport. For Alabama's new head coach, having a program like Alabama football and an icon like Nick Saban is huge in terms of building Alabama basketball into national contender.
"I love football. I think you can really use the resources you get out of football to help with basketball. Coach Saban and the whole football program have been great to us since we've been here, and we want to continue to build that relationship with them too." Oats said.
Oats later discussed his upcoming summer camp and highlighted what returning players like John Petty and Kira Lewis, Jr. can offer for the 2019-2020 season.
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