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. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Let's Talk About Transfers

Transfers have become the new normal in college athletics. If a coaching staff isn't preparing for it each season, they're not doing their jobs. It's even more likely when there's been a coaching change. Greg Byrne mentioned in his press conference that they have asked the current players, recruits and their families to be patient as they search for the next coach. Unfortunately, a couple of players have began exploring other options immediately.

Dazon Ingram has made it official that he will play his graduate year at another school. This has actually been rumored for a week or so. Dazon has received a fair share of crap from fans over the years, but he made a commitment to Alabama, played through a litany of injuries, and was, by all accounts, a solid citizen. He was also a solid basketball player when he was at his best. A guy that could give you double figure points, grab rebounds, assists, and was a solid defender. I got no beef with Dazon, and I wish him nothing but the best. Rumors are he will stay close to home (South Alabama, UAB, etc), but he's also had some top flight programs like Nevada and Gonzaga reach out to him, per reports.

The bigger news on the transfer front is that Kira Lewis has entered the "transfer portal" and is weighing his options ahead of the Alabama coaching search. This doesn't mean Kira is for sure gone - entering the portal just means he can be contacted by other coaches - but I do think it puts more pressure on Greg Byrne to try and wrap this coaching hire up sooner rather than later. In my opinion, Kira would be the best returning player for next season so the next coach needs to make retaining him a priority. I would assume more transfers are possible, if not likely. The hope here is the remaining players will wait to see what happens with this coaching search.  

Monday, March 25, 2019

Greg Bryne holds press conference to discuss coaching search.



The key points:

- He wants someone with college experience and ability to develop players and recruit.
-Is not concerned with "geographical footprint."
- The reputation of the University will be at the forefront of everything we do, and it will be a person with a history of academic and NCAA compliance.  (Welp, there went my first two choices)
-Everybody needs to be patient.
-Coaches and agents start rumors for leverage, don't believe anything or anyone.
-No search committee or outside headhunters, he got this.