TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On Tuesday, media members were treated to its first opportunity to view a live practice for Alabama men's basketball ahead of the 2021-22 season.
While the session wasn't incredibly lengthy — lasting only about 10 minutes or so — it was the first chance that members of the Alabama beat got to see the team's new players on the court in a crimson or white jersey.
The discussions over this past season have primarily centered around freshman J.D. Davison, and rightfully so. Davison was one of the top-ranked recruits in the country and head and shoulders above most other prospects in the state of Alabama. However, one new addition in transfer Noah Gurley turned some heads in practice.
Gurley quietly transferred from Furman to Alabama this past offseason after four successful seasons. While he was redshirted his freshman year, Gurley was named All-SoCon all three seasons from his junior to senior year. In 88 career games with the Paladins, Gurley registered 59 double-digit performances and recorded 14 games of 20 points or more.
With offensive production like that, it's easy to see why Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats wanted to add him to his team this past offseason.
“I like Noah a lot,” Oats said in a press conference on Tuesday. “He gives us that big that can play four and five, both. He can be your spacing five. Charles [Bediako] gives us dimension we haven’t had here. He’s playing really well but he’s not going to pick and pop a whole lot like [Jordan] Bruner or [Alex] Reese did. Gurley can do that."
This season won't be the first time Gurley has visited Tuscaloosa, though. Both in 2019 and 2020, Gurley traveled with his Paladins to play the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. In his first game against Alabama — and also Nate Oats' first season with the Crimson Tide — Gurley recorded seven points, four rebounds and two steals.
His redshirt-sophomore performance against Alabama was even more impressive, though. In 2020, Gurley registered 15 points, three rebounds and a block. That day, Gurley finished third on the Paladins squad in points but played a vital role in keeping the game close.
Both of those games came early in the season when Gurley was still trying to find his rhythm, and now that he has three seasons on the court in a competitive environment under his belt, he'll no doubt play a larger role for the Crimson Tide as a grad transfer.
Along with the addition of Gurley, Oats added freshman center Charles Bediako and redshirt-freshman forward Alex Tchikou will see his first time on the court after spending all last season on the bench due to an Achilles injury. Along with returners Darius Miles, Juwan Gary, Tyler Barnes, Keon Ambrose-Hylton and James Rojas, the team is filled to the brim with bigs.
While Bediako and Tchikou will no doubt be heavy contributors in the defensive backcourt for the Crimson Tide this season along with the returning slate of talent, there's a reason that Oats went out and recruited Gurley to finish his last season of college basketball at Alabama.
"He shot 38-percent from three in one of his seasons at Furman," Oats said. "He’s a more-than-capable shooter, he can drive, he’s athletic, he can move, he can switch on the ones, he can play the four — we’ve got a real legitimate four-man in the SEC — he can play the five where we go with it, kinda mismatch — pick-and-pop five.
"He needs to be good for us to be good this year and he’s starting to figure it out just with his effort and everything.”