Alabama Basketball Newcomer Breakdown: Chris Youngblood

A native of Tuscaloosa, Youngblood brings elite shooting and a physical, blue-collar attitude to Alabama for his fifth year.
Chris Youngblood on his official visit to Alabama
Chris Youngblood on his official visit to Alabama / Youngblood's Instagram page (@_._youngblood)

This is the second in an 8-part series where BamaCentral's Blake Byler will break down the numbers and the film to give you everything you need to know about each of Alabama basketball's 2024-25 newcomers. 

One of the most impressive parts of the Alabama basketball transfer class this offseason was how each player filled a specific need. In the case of South Florida transfer Chris Youngblood, he brings an excellent blend of physicality and shooting that will make him an indispensable member of the 2024-25 Crimson Tide team.

Youngblood, originally a native of Tuscaloosa, moved from west Alabama to the central Georgia area for his high school basketball years. He graded as a 3-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle, and signed to play for head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim at Kennesaw State.

Youngblood was an immediate contributor, averaging over 12 points per game at Kennesaw State and was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team his first collegiate season. He continued to improve, becoming an All-A-Sun first team selection as a junior, leading the Owls to the NCAA Tournament.

When Abdur-Rahim left Kennesaw State to take the South Florida job ahead of the 2023-24 season, Youngblood followed. He was the best player on a South Florida team that spent a few weeks of this past season in the AP Top 25.

Averaging 15.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and nearly 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc, Youngblood was named All-AAC first team and was named the player of the year in the American Athletic Conference.

At 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, Youngblood has a bulky frame that contributes to his physical style of play on both sides of the ball. In addition to being a great finisher around the rim, Youngblood fits in perfectly with the Nate Oats offense with his 3-point shooting capabilities, having shot over 40 percent from three for the past three seasons of his career.

Now, Youngblood brings four years of experience along with his skillset to Alabama, where he's primed to be an immediate contributor for the Crimson Tide in his fifth season of eligibility.

To visualize Youngblood's strengths and how he will fit in Tuscaloosa, let's dive into some film from his senior year at South Florida.

Having a consistent 40-plus percent 3-point shot means Youngblood is going to be heavily utilized in catch-and-shoot situations, as it is with the majority of Alabama's guards and wings. Youngblood posted an effective field goal percentage of 61 percent on catch-and-shoot threes this past season, ranking in the 90th percentile of all players.

The first clip is a very simple look, but one he'll get time and time again. Youngblood, spotting up in the corner, received an extra pass as the ball rotates down to the corner. Despite the hand in his face, he rises up and knocks the shot down.

The second clip shows a baseline-out-of-bounds play, where Youngblood sets a screen and then drifts to the open wing for a catch-and-shoot look. The catch is smooth, the shot is smooth, and the ball doesn't even graze the rim on the make.

While it's likely that catch-and-shoots in the halfcourt will be the majority of Youngblood's 3-point attempts on the season, he's capable of creating looks for himself in other ways as well.

The first clip shows Youngblood running perfectly in transition to the open corner as his teammate attacks the rim and draws a second defender. Alabama's pace is well-known, and as Mark Sears, Aden Holloway or another ball guard leads fast breaks, Youngblood will find himself with open transition threes often.

As seen in the second clip, he's also a capable ball handler that can use a flurry of moves to create space for himself. He doesn't need a ton of space to get his shot off, so creating just a few inches of separation could be enough for him to knock down the shot.

Last season, Youngblood posted an effective field goal percentage of 56 percent while shooting off the dribble. Not quite as good as his catch-and-shoot mark, but still ranking in the 77th percentile among college players, well above average.

There's more to Youngblood's game than just his 3-point shot. He was a 46 percent finisher at the rim last season, a very solid number for a guard. His size and physicality aid him in the paint as he goes up against much larger bodies.

Youngblood fights through some tight defense to use an off-ball screen in the first clip, receiving a dribble-handoff. The defense switches, putting a big man guarding Youngblood as he hesitates and explodes downhill. He gets to the rim, absorbs contact, and finishes the and-one.

Youngblood's driving and finishing capabilities will fit seamlessly into Alabama's drive-and-kick style offense. He's a solid passer, posting an assist rate of 15 percent last season, which will allow him to find Alabama's platoon of shooters on the perimeter when defenses inevitably collapse on his drives.

In the second clip, Youngblood uses his strength and physicality to simply post hid defender up. He works towards the basket and with good footwork is able to withstand contact from the defender and finish with ease.

Alabama doesn't necessarily post its guards up, but this clip showcases the level of physicality and strength Youngblood plays with as he's able to body up and finish over a larger defender. This also plays into his defensive capabilities. He was consistently charged with defending opposing teams' best players, and he embraced that challenge as a physical, blue-collar-like defender.

Youngblood plays extremely hard, he's gained the reputation of being an excellent leader, and he brings a wealth of experience with him as a 5th-year player. There's so much talent on the roster that it's hard to know this far out who will be starting, but there's no doubt Youngblood will play starter-caliber minutes as a major contributor for this team.

Oh, and he also has the ability to do this:

Check out BamaCentral's previous newcomer breakdowns:


Published
Blake Byler

BLAKE BYLER

Blake Byler is a staff writer for BamaCentral and primarily covers Alabama basketball and football. He has covered a wide variety of Crimson Tide sports since 2021, and began writing full-time for BamaCentral in 2023. You can find him on Twitter/X @blakebyler45.