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.

3] Donta Hall has been invited to the 2019 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Virginia. Portsmouth is a four-day pre-draft camp for college seniors where they will play games in front of over 200 NBA representatives in the hopes of raising their draft stock. The event will be held April 17-20.

4]  The SEC/Big 12 Challenge has been a great in-season event for both conferences, but the SEC always has four teams that are left out of the event due to the number of teams in both leagues. In the past, those four league teams would just play a league game vs each other on the Saturday of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. That may change next season. For the four teams left out of the event next season, and it's possible Alabama could be one of those teams, it has been reported that they will play home-and-home series with four teams from the American Athletic Conference (AAC) over the next two years. No idea yet if the games will be played in late January or in the November/December non-conference schedule. The hope is that the games will be against the top programs in the conference (Houston, Cincinnati, Uconn, Memphis, Wichita State or UCF)

5] Speaking of Cincinnati, former Alabama assistant coach John Brannen was named the new head coach for the Bearcats, replacing Mick Cronin, who was hired by UCLA. For the last four years, Brannen was the head coach at Northern Kentucky, taking the school to two NCAA Tournaments and an NIT. I think this is a good hire by Cincinnati, and I wish Coach Brannen the best of luck.

6] In 2019 recruiting news:

Alabama currently has 12 scholarship players on roster (11 if Tevin elects to stay in the draft). Let's assume that Tevin doesn't return, that leaves two spots for Nate Oats and his staff to work with. Trendon Watford obviously remains a huge target, and he will be announcing his college decision on April 20th. Another potential target for the staff could be Juco prospect James Rojas, a 6'7 forward from Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS that had been committed to Buffalo before the coaching change. Rojas, a Juco All-American this past season averaged 14.3 ppg and 5.8 rpg. With both Nate Oats and Bryan Hodgson now in Tuscaloosa, don't be surprised if Rojas commits to Alabama.

7] In 2020 recruiting news:

Nate Oats and his staff have been hard at work on the recruiting trail. In the past week, they have extended offers to several recruits.

Hunter Dickinson is a 7'2, 255 lb center from Hyattsville, MD. 247 rates him as a 5-star prospect, and he's currently ranked 24th in the country and 1st in the state of Maryland.

Andre Jackson is a 6'6, 160 lb guard from Albany, NY. 247 rates him as a 4-star prospect, and he's currently ranked 57th in the country and 1st in the state of New York.   

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