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2020 SEC Basketball Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

2020 SEC Basketball Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama had a new look last year under first year head coach Nate Oates. The transformation worked well for them as they ranked first in points per game. They relied on the three more than any other team in the SEC. The loss of Kira Lewis Jr. to the NBA is a major loss but a lot of talent was added for the 2020 year.

2019 Record: 16-15 (8-10), 9th in SEC

Key Returners: (G) Jaden Shackelford, (G) John Petty Jr., (F) Alex Reese, (F) Herbert Jones

Key Additions: (F) Jordan Bruner (Yale transfer), (G) Jahvon Quinerly (Villanova transfer), (F) Juwan Gary (2019 No.93 prospect), (G) Josh Primo (No.58 prospect), (F) Alex Tchikou (No.59 prospect), (F) James Rojas (2019 No.4 JUCO)

Key Losses: (G) Kira Lewis Jr., (G) James Bolden, (F) Javian Davis

2019 Season

The 2019 season fell short of of some early season hopes. Injuries plagued Alabama early as Juwan Gary and James Rojas were both lost for the year before play started. James Bolden and Herbert Jones also missed a few games.

The result were some embarrassing out of conference losses early in the schedule and a fizzling out at the end of the season. The Crimson Tide finished conference play with a 4-8 record including a loss to bottom team Vanderbilt.

They did have some quality wins over top teams in the conference. Wins against Mississippi State, No.25 LSU and No.4 Auburn were the some of Alabama’s best wins on the year. Despite the shortened season they it looked like Alabama was going to miss out on the tournament.

2020 Season

Projected Starting Lineup: Jahvon Quinerly (G, So), Jaden Shackelford (G, So), John Petty Jr. (G, Sr), Herbert Jones (F, Sr), Jordan Bruner (F, Sr)

Starters

Jahvon Quinerly is a great snag for this Alabama team that has to replace Kira Lewis Jr. Quinerly is a former top 30 prospect who didn’t see the time of day at Villanova with the plethora of talent Jay Wright harnesses. His defensive struggles didn’t help but rest assured, he’s ready to take the reigns of the offense after a year of experience in Oates system.

Two highly talented wings will be the scorers. Shackelford had the highest offensive rating per KenPom on Alabama last year and protected the ball better than anyone. John Petty shot lights out from three-point land and was voted First Team All-SEC this year. These two guys can score in a hurry.

Herbert Jones is one of the top defenders in the conference. He won’t give you a lot on offense but plays lockdown defense and is a solid rebounder. Which leaves Jordan Bruner to be the bruiser offensively. Bruner was a First Team All-Ivy player last year and led the conference in defensive rebound percentage. He’s a great shot blocker and can shoot from outside, fitting perfectly into the Oates offense.

Reserves

Alex Reese started 25 games a season ago and is a great player off the bench. He shoots the three okay but is much better inside the arch after having the highest 2pt% in the SEC. Reese is another solid option defensively and was Alabama’s best shot blocker.

Two incoming freshmen who will be in the mix for bench minutes are the top 60 prospects Josh Primo and Alex Tchikou. Primo is quick with a good perimeter shot making him another perfect fit. Oates referred to Tchikou as “long and athletic with guard skills” which will help him thrive in the system.

Gary and Rojas are two forwards eager to get their debut after their injuries last season. Rojas made the NJCAA All-American team two years ago and Gary highlighted the 2019 class that ranked No.21. Gary can run the court and play at several positions for Oates.

Overall the loss of Kira Lewis will hurt but offensive production is readily available for Nate Oates to utilize. Barring injury or a number of busts, this team is very deep. They can go six or seven deep which benefits them big time in a system that likes to run and score quickly. This team has a chance to move up into the top three of the conference should a player or two emerge outside Shackelford and Petty.

Prediction: 5th

 

 

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