HOOVER, Ala. — Despite missing out on a few recent transfer targets Nate Oats still hopes to fill Alabama basketball’s two open scholarship spots this offseason. During an appearance at the Regions Tradition Pro-Am on Wednesday, the head coach provided an outlook on the Crimson Tide’s roster and how he will look to add to it moving forward.
Alabama currently has 11 scholarship players on its roster, two below the NCAA limit. The Crimson Tide has pursued several players in the portal but has missed out on a few recent targets, including Jalen Bridges, Jaelin Llewellyn, Jarod Lucas.
“A couple of guys we’ve gone after got a little scared with our current roster, so we need somebody that’s willing to fight for minutes. We’ve got a pretty good roster right now, but with Quinerly being hurt and not available to start the year, that’s 10 healthy scholarship players to start the year if we don’t have any more injuries, so we need to add at least one.
“You don’t have to play 13 guys, but we’d like to add at least one, if not both of those open scholarships.”
Alabama is in the midst of an offseason turnover as it returns just five members of last year’s team in Charles Bediako, Nimari Burnett, Noah Gurley, Darius Miles and Jahvon Quinerly. The Crimson Tide 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.
Still, Oats believes his roster has room for at least one more difference-maker.
“If we get a big wing that can make shots, that’s ideal,” Oats said. “We’d like to add some shooting and then maybe just the best available. I don’t feel like we really need any more guards, smaller guards, but bigger wings that can kind of play multiple positions.”
Alabama will start the season somewhat short-handed as Quinerly continues to rehab from an ACL injury he suffered during the NCAA Tournament loss to Notre Dame on March 18. Wednesday, Oats provided an update on the point guard, stating that the hope is to get him back by SEC play early next year.
“If his recovery goes great, maybe sooner,” Oats said. “But we’re not gonna try to rush him because we want him to have a healthy year when he’s able to play and try to get himself to be able to play after college. So yeah, that’s when planning on is like by SEC play.”
Quinerly isn’t the only Alabama guard returning from a knee injury. Burnett, who transferred to the team from Texas Tech last year, sat out all of last season after tearing his ACL in the fall. Oats said the combo guard still isn’t participating in live drills in practice but should be able to do so by the summer.
“He’s coming along, though,” Oats said. “He’s on time, and we think by the end of the summer, he’ll be able to do some live, 5-on-5 stuff.”