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Coach Oats pulls his first recruit: C Raymond Hawkins commits to Alabama

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Hawkins will help fill an important roster need.

Nate Oats has wasted no time hitting the recruiting trail since coming to Tuscaloosa, and his efforts bore fruit last night as Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV) center Raymond Hawkins committed to Alabama. From BamaOnline:

“I’m going to the University of Alabama,” Hawkins told 247Sports. “A few weeks ago my mom, my brother and my step brother all visited coach [Nate] Oats and coach [Bryan] Hodgson at Buffalo. The culture between the players and coaches was unbelievable. The relationship just made me comfortable. I felt like I can trust them.”

It speaks volumes about Oats that a west coast kid was going to play his college ball at a midmajor school in Buffalo, NY despite offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, St. John’s and others, and that he committed to Alabama without even visiting Tuscaloosa. If you had any doubt how important the coach is in many a recruit’s school choice, that should put it to bed.

Hawkins is ranked #175 overall in the 247composite, but #88 in 247’s own rankings. The 6’9” big man weighs in at 225 lbs. and shows the ability to run the floor along with some nice moves around the basket. He will help to fill the massive hole created by the graduation of Donta Hall.

Recent highlight reel below.

Roll Tide, Raymond!