The 3 Keys to Alabama Basketball’s Success
Alabama basketball has not matched the long-term success that Alabama football, but is a rising program coming into the 2022 season.
In 2019, Greg Byrne hired Nate Oats after four up-and-down years with Avery Johnson at the helm. Oats, who only coached D-1 basketball for four years prior at the University of Buffalo, was hired in an attempt to establish a winning culture in Tuscaloosa.
After a 16-15 record during Oats' first year at the Capstone, the Tide burst onto the college basketball scene in 2020. Led by Herb Jones, John Petty, Jr., Jaden Shackleford, and Jahvon Quinerly, Alabama won both the SEC regular season championship and the SEC tournament. In the NCAA tournament, the Crimson Tide made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to the UCLA Bruins in overtime.
The following year, Nate Oats & Co. had much optimism for the 2021-2022 season. Pulling in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation which included 5-star J.D Davison. But, the season was frustrating, to say the least. The Tide beat some of the best teams in the country such as Baylor, Houston, and Gonzaga. Then they would go on to lose to some of the worst teams in the country like Georgia and Missouri. Alabama found zero tournament success too, losing in the first round of both the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament.
This season, the Alabama basketball team looks to bounce back after the disappointing year prior. To achieve the success of 2020, Nate Oats and his staff went out and completely revamped the roster, bringing in a top-3 recruiting class, which included 5-star Brandon Miller. The Crimson Tide feel confident they have shaped their roster to be able to compete with some of the best programs in the nation. Here are the three most important things for the Tide to find success this season.
Key 1: Consistency
One of the biggest issues that the Tide have faced under Nate Oats thus far has been consistency. This was huge last year as the Tide were capable of beating almost any team in the country, but they could also lose to a team that is far below them. Nate Oats runs an offense where almost anyone has the green light to take a shot from behind the arc. Alabama last year had a significant drop off in defensive efficiency, dropping from the third-best defensive team in 2021, to the 91st in 2022. This meant that the offense has to perform on a nightly basis if Alabama wanted to find success but that wasn't the case. Last year, you could never predict if the Tide were going to miss or make a shot. If Alabama wants to have another shot at an SEC title or even a national title, they will have to play at an elite level every night.
Key 2: Newcomers making an impact:
With a generally new team this year, the Tide will heavily rely on the newcomers this season if they want to find success. Both Ohio Transfer Mark Sears and St. Bonaventure transfer Dom Welch have both proved that they can contribute at the college level. During his 2 years as a Bobcat, Sears put up 15 points per game and 4 assists per game as he lead Ohio to a 42-18 record during his time there. Welch spent 4 years with St. Bonaventure, where he put up 11 points per game and 6 rebounds per game over 110 games.
The incoming recruiting class may be the biggest highlight on the team, with an incredible pool of high school talent coming in. The main X-Factor is 5-star Brandon Miller. Miller has shown incredible flashes throughout the preseason, arguably being the Tide's best player during their foreign tour in August. Many people around the program have sung the praises of 4-star forward Noah Clowney. The 6-foot-9 forward has had a breakthrough camp, being touted for his versatility and ability to shoot from range. The other 5-star in Alabama's class of 2022 was Jaden Bradley who should make an impact on both sides of the ball. These new additions to the team will be vital throughout the the year as the Tide look to get back to NCAA tournament sucess.
Key 3: Jahvon Quinerly returning to late 20-21 form
A key part of the Tide's 2020 Sweet Sixteen run was the elite performance of Jahvon Quinerly. During the later part of the season, Quinerly was almost unstoppable, earning the SEC tournament MVP award. During the NCAA tournament, Quinerly averaged almost 16 points on 61% shooting. Getting back a healthy Quinerly could make the Crimson Tide a dark horse contender for the Final Four.