Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Offseason Post # 5: The Trendon Watford Has Left The State Edition

As most of you reading this likely know by now, Trendon Watford, a 5-star forward and the top player in the state of Alabama in the 2019 class, made his college decision on Monday, choosing to take his talents to Baton Rouge and play for the LSU Tigers. For any Alabama fans angry at this development, let me just remind you that Trendon wasn't likely to come to Alabama if Avery Johnson was still the coach. What once seemed like a sure commitment got away over the last two years as the leadership of the program began to be openly questioned by fans, media and, it would seem, recruits and their families. If Nate Oats had more time to build a relationship with Trendon and his family, I think Alabama would have remained a strong leader for his commitment, but there just wasn't time.

I wish Trendon was suiting up for Alabama next season, but I'm guessing Will Wade made a strong a** offer. It is what it is. In all seriousness, I wish Trendon the best at LSU. He's a great player that is doing what he feels is best for his basketball future, and any sane, rational fan has to accept his decision process. That said, I hope Alabama sweeps LSU next season. Will Wade has quickly become, for me anyways, one of the more loathsome characters in college basketball. The fact he still has a job after the revelations that have surfaced the last few months is further testament to the now open embrace of the rot and corruption at the heart of college basketball, and, if I may be so bold, our society as a whole. One thing is for certain: the game between the two programs in Coleman Coliseum next season should be quite interesting. I suspect the Alabama students will not be kind.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Offseason Post #4: The Andrew Steele Returns Home Edition

It's not official yet, but it's being reported that former Alabama basketball player Andrew Steele will be returning to Tuscaloosa for a position with Coach Oats staff. The reports say that he's likely to be hired as the director of player personnel. Previously, Andrew was the director of basketball operations at Troy University. Prior to Troy, Andrew was also the director of basketball operations at South Alabama and spent two years as the head basketball coach at John Carroll High School. Andrew always struck me as a standup guy when he was a player, and I think I speak for many when I say I'm excited to have him back in Tuscaloosa.

In Other News: 

1] Former Alabama assistant coach Yasir Rosemond was named in federal court on Thursday as part of testimony given by Marty Blazer. Rosemond was one of several college basketball assistant coaches named by Blazer, who is cooperating with the government's investigation into bribery and corruption in college athletics. Blazer has pleaded guilty to a number of crimes, including wire fraud and lying to the SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission). He's facing 67 years in prison, which would be my guess as to why he's cooperating with the investigation.

According to journalists covering the trial, Rosemond was videotaped at a meeting in Las Vegas with Blazer, agent runner Christian Dawkins and undercover FBI agents in July 2017. At this meeting, he allegedly told those in attendance that "whatever you need me to do, I'll do it." in an effort to gain resources to aid in recruiting. However, it's also being reported that Rosemond did not receive any money at that meeting. Furthermore, Blazer testified that Rosemond and the other assistants named didn't receive money because they didn't have enough pull yet with prospects. I recommend clicking the link above for more information. As if the basketball revelations weren't enough, Blazer also testified to paying college football players, including players at the University of Alabama.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Coaches in the SEC and their previous experience (WEST)

Continuing with the West (which doesn't really exist in SEC Basketball) as I was waiting for Arkansas to blund... hire their next coach.

Alabama-  Nate Oats... 4 seasons at Buffalo and 3 NCAATs to show for it. Seems like it was his team the last 2 years and not Bobby Hurley's so that makes me feel a bit better (when we hired Grant he has 3 years at VCU). Obviously going to give him a chance, but the older I get the more cynical I become about Alabama becoming a force in hoops again... especially with the coaches listed below and the ones in the EAST making noise.
Unrelated, isn't it sad that Buffalo has as many NCAAT appearances in the last 4 years as we have in the previous 13?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Offseason Post #3: The Beetle Bolden Edition

Big news today as West Virginia grad transfer, James "Beetle" Bolden, announced on Twitter that he will be transferring to Alabama. Bolden was in Tuscaloosa this weekend for the A-Day festivities.


This is more great news for the new coaching staff. They desperately needed more ball-handlers at the guard position, and Bolden will fill that role nicely. But like Kira, he's also a more than capable scorer (12.2 ppg in an injury-shortened 2018-19 season). Assuming he's been able to overcome the injuries that limited him this past season, Bolden should be a fun player to watch next season.

In Other News:

1] Tevin Mack announced that he will test the NBA Draft waters. He has submitted the paperwork for the draft, but will not hire an agent. It's possible he returns to Alabama, but it's also worth keeping in mind that he will turn 22 years old next month and is expected to graduate in May. My guess is he's likely moving on.

2] Freshman guard Diante Wood has decided to enter the transfer portal and will likely join Dazon Ingram and Daniel Giddens as expected departures. Wood redshirt this past season due to a leg injury, and it was likely a numbers game that led him to decide that a transfer was in his best interests. Best of luck to Diante as he moves on.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Offseason Post #2: The Kira Lewis Edition

After Avery Johnson and Alabama parted ways, Kira Lewis chose to enter the NCAA transfer portal. He did not rule out the possibility of returning to Tuscaloosa once a new coach was hired. Fortunately, it appears that Nate Oats and the new staff have made an impression on Kira and his family as Kira announced today on Twitter that he will withdraw from the transfer portal and return to Alabama.



This is big news for Nate Oats as he prepares for his first season. In my opinion, Kira, a member of the SEC All-Freshman team, was the top returning player on the roster. Based on his skill set, Kira should thrive in Oats' system. John Petty, who also entered the transfer portal and elected to return, is no worse than the second-best returning player. To get both of these guys back is huge. A successful first season for Oats in Tuscaloosa is now very possible.

In other news:

1] Nate Oats finished fourth place in AP Coach of the Year voting after he led Buffalo to the best season in school history with a 32-4 record and a top 25 KenPom finish.

2] The coaching staff is also taking shape. Nate Oats has brought assistant Bryan Hodgson from Buffalo to join the staff. Hodgson has a reputation as being an elite recruiter and many Buffalo fans were lobbying for him to get the head job after Oats left.

Monday, April 08, 2019

UCLA job invades the SEC- first Kentucky, now Tennessee

UPDATE- Crisis averted... UCLA hires Mickey Cronin from Cincy.

As UCLA continues to whiff on a replacement for Steve Alford, they have set their sights on Rick Barnes. While I secretly hope he leaves, he'd be a fool to do so.

UCLA is a program built around a coach and some shady recruiting practices. Outside of the Wooden run what exactly has UCLA done to be considered a blue blood school? A natty with Harrick and 3 Finals Fours with Howland... in the course of 40 years that's not exactly setting the basketball universe on fire.

Granted, the above would make all of our fans swoon forever, but if you look at their program, the fan base, and the money they will invest, it is just not a job someone with a Power 5 gig should leave for unless UCLA opens the pocketbook AND they are unhappy where they are.

I suspect the next coach they try is Bruce Pearl.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

2020-21 Schedule News

For those of you with the resources to travel, it appears that your Thanksgiving plans are set for the next two years. It was announced today that Alabama will be part of the 2020 Maui Invitational Field in the 2020-21 season. That will be a year removed from the program playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas in the upcoming 2019-20 season. Not a bad way to spend the next two Thanksgiving weeks.



The other teams in Maui will be Davidson, North Carolina (also in the Battle 4 Atlantis in 19-20), Indiana, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV. As always, the lineup in Maui is top-notch.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Coaches in the SEC and their previous experience (EAST)

I know there is technically no East and West, but to make this easier to read I went ahead and broke it down that way. Today is SEC EAST.

The SEC went from a conference with little coaching star power to one where the big names play. Here's who's here and what they did before getting here:

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Offseason Post #1

You always remember your first. This is the first of what will likely be many offseason posts this spring and summer as the Alabama program welcomes a new coaching staff. To start, for those of you that haven't seen the press conference to introduce Nate Oats as the new head coach, here is some embedded video:





Here's the latest with the current roster. Kira Lewis, John Petty, Daniel Giddens and Dazon Ingram all entered the transfer portal. Daniel and Dazon are likely not coming back, but the good news is JP has already withdrawn from the portal and will return to the team. Assuming John doesn't change his mind, this is a big development. In my opinion, John did improve from year one to year two, but he hasn't come close to reaching his ceiling. The hope is that the new coaching staff will bring the best out of him. As far as Kira goes, Coach Oats has talked with him and his family about returning, but, for now at least, he remains in the portal.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nate Oats Named New Head Coach



Alabama officially named Nate Oats as the new head coach today.  It's no secret that I had him at number 9 on my list, but there's a lot to like about him.  There's no doubt it's a gamble, as is the case with any mid-major, but it could pay off big.

After a long, successful high school career, he served for 2 years as an assistant at Buffalo before taking over as head coach.  In 4 years as a head coach for the Bulls, he's made the tournament 3 times with an upset win over Arizona last year and a first round win over Arizona State this year.  He is a former math teacher and embraces the analytics of the modern game.  Buffalo ranked 21st in adjusted offensive efficiency, 31st in adjusted defensive efficiency, and 12th in adjusted tempo. 

Here's a great SI Article from last month about him.  You really should take the time to read it, but some of the highlights that I found compelling were that he believes in practicing hard and giving the players a lot of freedom in the games, and being upset about only beating a team by 18 that he felt they should have beat by 35 or 40. Having a team that won't take the foot off the gas with a comfortable lead will be a refreshing change.

The main question is can he recruit at a level necessary to do that in a power 5 conference?  Time will tell, and a good place to start would be getting Kira and Petty back from the transfer portal.  I suspect he will be meeting with the Watfords in the very near future as well. 

I know we all wanted a "bigger name," but this guy deserves a chance and I hope everyone will give him their full support. 

We'll have more after the press conference and I'll post some additional thoughts on the hiring whenever I get around to drafting my annual end-of-season manifesto.