Alabama Basketball Newcomer Breakdown: Houston Mallette

The Pepperdine transfer provides depth and shooting to the Crimson Tide backcourt in 2024-25.
Houston Mallette on his official visit to Alabama
Houston Mallette on his official visit to Alabama / Mallette's Instagram page (@houstonmallette)

This is the fourth 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. 

There are some players who enter the transfer portal and take weeks, even months on end to visit different schools and decide their new destination. With Houston Mallette, that was far from the case.

Mallette made it clear very early that he wanted to be at Alabama, committing to the Crimson Tide back on March 19, not only before the 2024-25 season ended, but before Alabama had even played an NCAA Tournament game.

Nate Oats still had no idea which players would stay or transfer out, and Mallette had no idea the momentum the Alabama program would soon gain with a Final Four run in the weeks after his commitment. What was known, was that Mallette wanted to play for Oats, and Oats wanted Mallette.

Mallette transferred from Pepperdine, where he spent the first three seasons of his college career after grading as a 3-star recruit in the 2021 cycle. He was an instant impact player, averaging 13.6 points per game his freshman year and being named to the WCC All-Freshman team.

Over his three years, he never averaged below 13 points per game, capping out at a 14.7 points per game average this past season. He added 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest his junior year, while making a massive jump as a shooter, the aspect of his game that drew Alabama the most, shooting 41.5 percent from deep.

Mallette is a capable finisher, converting on 47 percent of his looks at the rim this past season, but he won't be a ball-dominant player. The number Mallette wears, No. 95, is derived from the notion that '95 percent of the time you won't have the ball in your hand.' He knows and recognizes his role and is more than willing to play it.

At 6-foot-5 with a lengthy wingspan, he has the tools to be a very solid team defender, able to fill passing lanes and make it difficult on offensive ball handlers with his reach.

But Mallette is going to be on the court to do one primary thing, and that's shoot the basketball. So let's look at some of his Pepperdine film to see his capabilities as a shotmaker.

In order to play as a guard or a wing in a Nate Oats offense, you have to be able to catch and shoot off penetration and ball rotations, and that's exactly what we see Mallette do here.

Against Indiana State in the first clip, Mallette's teammate has drawn two defenders at the top of the key as Mallette pops out to the wing. The pass is delivered, and Mallette effortlessly catches and releases even with a hand in his face and is able to knock the shot down.

In the second clip, the ball is in the post, drawing multiple LMU defenders to it. The ball then rotates and skips to the corner, where Mallette finds himself wide open for an easy 3-point look.

These two looks are similar to some of the most basic looks Mallette will get in the Alabama offense, coming as defenders help off of shooters.

In addition to being able to shoot off a stationary catch, Mallette has a capable shot while moving off the ball. He'll receive a number of off-ball screens and make plenty of off-ball cuts, and his ability to do so will free him up for even more open 3-point looks.

Against Portland in the first clip, Mallette's man gets caught going under a screen, signaling Mallette to catch and fire with the small amount of space he's gotten. Despite the decent closeout, Mallette is able to knock down the shot after catching it on the move.

In the second clip against UNLV, demonstrates sharp awareness by cutting to the open space in the corner while his teammate has attention drawn to him around the nail. It's another easy kickout and make, because of Mallette's ability to move without the ball.

As important as being able to shoot off the catch is, Mallette's shooting ability goes beyond that. He's able to create for himself off the dribble as well, and has the ability to knock down difficult, off-balance looks.

In the first clip against San Francisco, Mallette catches a routine pass to the corner, but the closeout is way too strong for him to get the shot off. He pump fakes, sending the defender flying, and relocates with one dribble to his left to reset his shot. Not only does he hit the shot, but also gets fouled as another defender flies at him.

Against Gonzaga in the second clip, he creates separation off the dribble by attacking the defender's top foot, getting him to open his hips, and snatching the dribble back to pull up for a now-open look.

Given the sheer number of ball handlers in the Alabama offense, it's not likely that Mallette routinely attempts to create for himself off the dribble, but he has the ability in his arsenal which makes him an even more dangerous shooter.

Given the depth of Alabama's backcourt and the amount of returners on the roster for 2024-25, it doesn't seem likely that Mallette ends up as a starter. However, his role as a bench shooter and scorer will be vital as depth is one of the biggest strengths of this Alabama team on paper.

Mallette will get the majority of his minutes at the '2' or the '3,' and he gives Oats exactly what he looks for in a depth piece with a 3-and-D wing type role. He won't have to be asked to do too much with the number of quality contributors on this roster, but if he's able to come in and plays solid defense while knocking down a few 3-point looks a game, his impact will be exactly what's needed of him.

Check out BamaCentral's previous newcomer breakdowns:

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.