Alabama Basketball’s Roster: What’s Next for the Crimson Tide?
The transfer turnstiles are churning in college basketball, and that’s led to a busy offseason for Alabama.
A slew of draft departures and transfers have left the Crimson Tide with just four scholarship players — Charles Bediako, Nimari Burnett, Darius Miles and Jahvon Quinerly — from last year’s roster. Of that bunch, Quinerly will likely miss the first half of the season while rehabbing from a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Burnett has yet to play a game for Alabama after missing all of last season with a knee injury of his own.
Alabama added Ohio transfer Mark Sears this offseason and is also bringing in a five-person signing class including SI99 members in small forward Brandon Miller (No. 11 overall), point guard Jaden Bradley (No. 16), forward Noah Clowney (No. 55) and shooting guard Rylan Griffen (No. 58) as well as highly-rated JUCO forward Nick Pringle.
Factoring the incoming signing class, Alabama currently has 11 players on scholarship — two under the NCAA limit of 13. Here’s a breakdown of where things stand for the Crimson Tide at the moment as well as a look at a few transfer targets.
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Current projected starting lineup
G | Mark Sears | 6-1, 185 | jr.
With JD Davison and Jaden Shackelford moving on to the professional ranks and Jahvon Quinerly still recovering from his ACL injury, Alabama entered the offseason in desperate need of experience at the guard position. The Crimson Tide appears to have found that in Sears, who led Ohio with 19.6 points and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 40.8% from beyond the arc last season. I have also finished second on the team averaging 1.7 steals. Sears, a Muscle Shoals, Ala., native figures to be the Crimson Tide’s starting point guard to begin the season.
G | Nimari Burnett | 6-4, 190 | R-So
After transferring to Alabama from Texas Tech last year, Burnett was projected to be one of the Crimson Tide’s key players before suffering a season-ending knee injury in early September. During his freshman year with the Red Raiders, the former McDonald’s All-American averaged 5.3 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 28 percent from the floor over 12 games.
In January, Burnett posted a video of himself making shots with a brace on his right knee. The combo guard is expected to be full-go by the beginning of the season.
F | Brandon Miller | 6-9, 200 | Fr.
Miller is Alabama’s highest-rated signee since Collin Sexton in 2017. The McDonald’s All-American was named the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 24.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game for Cane Ridge High School last season . Miller is projected here as a small forward but could serve as a stretch four if Alabama signs a guard out of the portal worthy of starting minutes.
F | Noah Gurly | 6-8, 215 | gr.
After joining Alabama as a graduate transfer from Furman last year, Gurley is taking advantage of the NCAA’s eligibility waiver due to COVID-19 in order to play one more season with the Crimson Tide. Last year, the veteran forward made 14 starts over 33 appearances, averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 48.3% from the floor and 25.4% from deep. While projected as a starter here, Gurley might end up being Alabama’s first big off the bench depending on who the Crimson Tide brings in out of the transfer portal. Either way, he’ll provide a welcomed veteran presence to the unit.
C | Charles Bediako | 7-0, 225 | SW.
Bediako’s first season in college basketball didn’t come without a few growing pains. However, the Ontario, Canada native showed plenty of promise, particularly in Alabama’s upset win over Gonzaga where he recorded a career-high six blocks. Bediako earned SEC All-Freshman honors during his debut season with the Crimson Tide, leading the team in blocks (51) and field-goal percentage (69.2) while averaging 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. If he’s able to add a bit more toughness to his game during the offseason, the 7-footer could be one of Alabama’s biggest weapons.
Current projected bench
G | Jahvon Quinerly | 6-1, 175 | Mr.
Quinerly was originally expected to pursue a professional career this offseason. However, the five-star point guard announced last month that he will be returning for a final year while rehabbing from the ACL injury he suffered during the NCAA Tournament loss to Notre Dame on March 18.
Quinerly figures to provide a nice shot in the arm for the Crimson Tide whenever he is able to return to the court next season. Last season he finished second on the team in scoring (13.8 points per game) and assists (4.2 per game) while shooting 41.1% from the floor and 28.1% from beyond the arc.
G | Jaden Bradley | 6-3, 185 | Fr.
Bradley joins a growing list of ultra-talented point guards to roll through Tuscaloosa, Ala., in recent years. The McDonald’s All-American comes to the Crimson Tide from IMG Academy. While playing for Cannon School during his junior year of high school in 2020, he was named the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, averaging 23.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.9 steals. It might take Bradley some time to develop at the next level, but he should be able to learn behind Sears and Quinerly while working his way onto the court.
G | Rylan Griffen | 6-5, 180 | Fr.
Griffen doesn’t get talked about as much as the other SI99 prospects in Alabama’s signing class. However, the sharp-shooter from Dallas, Texas could be a deadly weapon off the bench. During his senior season with Texas powerhouse Richardson High School, Griffen earned District 7-6A Offensive MVP honors averaging 20.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals.
F | Darius Miles | 6-6, 185 | jr.
Miles had an up-and-down sophomore year while serving as a part of Alabama’s rotation last season. The 6-foot-6 wing started two games over 30 appearances, averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 37.6% from the floor and 29.4% from deep. While he still figures to be a bench option, his familiarity with Nate Oats’ system should be key in helping Alabama get settled after its roster upheaval.
F | Noah Clowny | 6-10, 210 | Fr.
Clowney figures to be an end-of-the-bench option for Alabama this season. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it will allow the lanky forward to fill into his 6-10 frame. Clowney has the athleticism Alabama likes in its bigs and seems to be a good fit for Oats’ system moving forward.
F | Nick Pringle | 6-9, 220 | jr.
Keon Ellis worked his way into a starting role at Alabama after joining the Crimson Tide as a junior college transfer in 2020. Pringle is hoping to take the same route as he arrives in Tuscaloosa after averaging 9.2 points and 8.9 rebounds for Dodge City (Kan. ) Community College last season. He could develop into a nice depth piece in Alabama’s frontcourt.
G | Jarod Lucas | 6-4, 195 | Mr. | Oregon State
After visiting Alabama last week, Jarod Lucas could be on the verge of becoming the Crimson Tide’s second transfer addition this offseason. The former Oregon State combo guard announced Thursday that he will be making his college decision this weekend. Alabama is battling Nevada as favorites for his commitment to him.
If Lucas does choose Alabama, he has the talent to slot into the Crimson Tide’s starting lineup. Last season, the sharp-shooting guard made 38.6% of his shots from beyond the arc while leading Oregon State with 13.5 points per game. Pairing him with Sears and Burnett would provide Alabama with a dangerous three-headed monster at the guard position.
G | Emmanuel Akot | 6-8, 210| gr | Boise State
Could another Canadian talent be headed to Tuscaloosa? Oats hasn’t been shy about bringing in players from north of the border, adding Josh Primo and Keon Ambrose-Hylton in the 2020 class before signing Bediako last year. Alabama could once again dip into that well with Boise State transfer Emmanual Akot, who averaged 10.6 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 40% from the floor and 37.5% from deep last season. The Winnipeg native has outstanding length and plays with an aggressive, physical style that should fit Oats’ blue-collar mentality.
G | Michael Jones | 6-5, 210| R-Mr. | davidson
Alabama witnessed Michael Jones’ scoring ability when the former Davidson guard recorded 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting during the Crimson Tide’s 79-78 loss to the Wildcats last season. Alabama might have that production on its side this year as Jones named the Crimson Tide as one of three finalists along with Northwestern and Stanford, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein earlier this week. Jones averaged 11.8 points and 3.6 rebounds last season while shooting 46.1% from the floor and 42.1% from 3-point range.
G | Ricky Council IV | 6-6, 205 | So. | Wichita State
Alabama made the top-six for Wichita State transfer guard Ricky Council IV, who also included Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas and Mississippi State as his favorites earlier this week. Council made seven starts over 28 appearances for Wichita State last season, finishing second on the team in scoring (12.0 points per game) rebounding (5.4 rebounds per game) and steals (1.1 per game). He shot 43.7% from the floor and 30.6% from deep.