Having already coaxed John Petty out of the transfer portal, new Alabama coach Nate Oats has drawn Kira Lewis back into the fold as well.
This recommitment by Lewis is certainly the biggest recruiting win to date in Oats’ fledgling tenure at the Capstone. With Lewis’s return, the Crimson Tide now stands at twelve scholarship players for the inaugural season of the Oats era. The limit is thirteen.
The twelve does not include Dazon Ingram and Daniel Giddens who are still in the transfer portal. There have been no reports of Oats showing up at the door of either of these two with a plate of cookies trying to convince them to stay. You can probably close the book on their Alabama careers.
|1||Kira Lewis Jr.||Guard||06-03||167||So.||Recommitted to Alabama|
|2||John Petty||Guard||06-05||197||Jr.||Recommitted to Alabama|
|-||Tevin Mack||Guard/Forward||06-06||225||Sr.||In the Transfer Portal|
|7||Juwan Gary||Forward||06-06||200||Fr.||Signed and committed to Oats|
|8||Jaylen Forbes||Guard||06-05||190||Fr.||Signed and committed to Oats|
|9||Jaden Shackelford||Guard||06-03||185||Fr.||Signed and committed to Oats|
|10||Raymond Hawkins||Center||06-09||225||Fr.||Committed to Oats - Signed|
|11||James Bolden||Guard||06-00||170||Grad.||Grad Transfer to Bama - Signed|
|12||James Rojas||Forward||06-08||215||Jr.||Juco with two years to play - Signed|
Soon after the hiring of Oats, guard signees Jaylen Forbes and Jaden Shackelford both told reporters they were still all in to roll with the Tide. As for forward Juwan Gary, there had been silence until Monday when he recommitted via Instagram.
Without saying the name “Trendon Watford”, Oats remarked to WJOX sports radio on Monday that he is holding a spot for the 5-star Mountain Brook forward.
“We’ve got one open scholarship for a certain player here in the (state). I’m not allowed to comment on that,” Oats said. “If things go like we’d like them to go, we’ll have a full roster. We may have another defection or two. It’s just new coach, new system. Do they fit our system well? To be honest with you, I really like most of our roster. I did think when we got here, we maybe had a few too many bigs. We like to play spread-out. Four-out, one-in or even five-out. Shoot, our five men in Buffalo were shooting a lot of threes. So, we maybe had a few too many bigs that weren’t skilled to play in the perimeter. We’re working on it right now.
“We had a week of workouts. We’ve got some guys getting more skilled on the perimeter and getting a little bit better that way. But I think we’ve got a decent roster to play the way we want to play. We’ve got some big wings that are skilled. Tevin Mack and (John) Petty, and we’ve got Herb Jones, who’s really skilled, can play 1-4.”
His comments about “we may have another defection or two. It’s just new coach, new system. Do they fit our system well?” may hint at other impending departures. Another interesting part of his conversation with WJOX was the part regarding the use of “bigs” considering he just convinced 6’9” center Raymond Hawkins to switch his commitment from Buffalo to Alabama. But the new Bama coach actually has a system (when you have a moment, watch this series of short videos on the drills he runs) and there are certain players that fit his system. Big lumbering players who camp in the paint are not among them.
There has been some interwebz talk that redshirt freshman Javian Davis-Fleming or slow-footed Galin Smith might not fit his system. It is pure speculation at this point, but should we see one or both of these forwards step into the transfer portal, there could be room for grad-transfer James Bolden who has been linked to Alabama. The West Virginia point guard averaged 12.2 point per game this past season for the Mountaineers but only played in 18 games due to a sprained ankle and then was removed from the roster in early March.
The regular basketball signing period begins April 17 (a week from Wednesday) and ends on May 15. At the Division 1 level, universities are allotted 13 scholarships per team.
UPDATE: Matt Zenitz of aye-ell dot com reports that guard Diante Wood has entered the NCAA transfer portal. That puts the Tide at 11 allowing room for “Beetle” Bolden while holding a spot for Watford.
UPDATE 4/12/19: Evan Daniels of FS1 cites a source that Tevin Mack has submitted the necessary paperwork to declare for the NBA Draft. The Tide wing has until May 29th to remove his name from consideration and return to Alabama as long as he doesn’t sign with an agent or take any money, etc. To date, 96 underclassmen have declared. Add in the hundreds of seniors and international players eligible for the draft and you start to see some long odds of being one of the 60 players selected.
UPDATE 4/14/19: According to Bolden’s twitter page, he has committed to grad-transfer to Alabama. He was seen at A-Day with Hawkins.
Chapter 2— Beetle (@jamesbolden3) April 14, 2019
Title: Roll Tide Roll
Beyond blessed and just want to thank everyone who took the the time to recruit and get to know me and after talking with my family I’m going to further my education and athletic career at the University of Alabama. Can I get a ROLL TIDE ! pic.twitter.com/lLgHLJF87k
UPDATE 4/14/19: Juco small forward James Rojas (6’8”/215) signed with Buffalo during the early signing period but hopes to follow Oats to Alabama if he can squeeze in. He was first-team NJCAA All-American at Hutchinson this past season. Originally from Jamestown, NY, Rojas averaged 19.0 ppg connecting on 50.4% (176-349) of his field goals. He was 38.4% from beyond the arc and 79.5% at the charity stripe. He registered 6.8 rebounds per game and 2.2 assist per game. (Full stats) Rojas has two years of eligibility left.
UPDATE 4/19/19: Former Howard University guard and reigning MEAC Player of The Year RJ Cole has entered the transfer portal. He and his parents will meet with Oats tonight and tomorrow. In two seasons with the Bison, Cole averaged 22.5 points and 6.2 assists per game in 67 games. He was a 3-year starter for legendary coach Bob Hurley Sr. at St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey. He will have two years of eligibility remaining and barring a waiver, would have to sit out a year.
UPDATE 4/19/19: Alabama will meet Saturday with another high-profile transfer and his parents in former 5-star McDonald’s All-American point guard Jahvon Quinerly from Villanova. Quinerly scored 3.2 ppg after playing only 9.1 minutes per game last season behind rising junior Collin Gillespie who won’t be turning pro anytime soon. Quinerly has three years of eligibility remaining.
OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) April 19, 2019
Raymond Hawkins and graduate transfer James "Beetle" Bolden are the newest members of the @AlabamaMBB family! ✍️✍️
Read more here ⤵️
MAY 6 UPDATE: This past weekend, RJ Cole was on campus for an official visit. By all accounts it went really well. The Tide’s main competition is UConn and the siren call of the NBA. Cole previously declared for the NBA Draft (without hiring an agent) and could take that route. He has until the end of May to decide which route he will go.
MAY 8 UPDATE: Daniel Giddens will grad-transfer to Vermont. The Catamounts have won the America East Conference two out of the past three seasons, but of course, they have been bounced from the first round of the NCAA Tournament in those two seasons.
MAY 14 UPDATE: RJ Cole commits to UConn.
MAY 20 UPDATE: It was no surprise that Watford committed to LSU.
MAY 20 UPDATE: Diante Wood has indeed transferred. He will attend Jacksonville U. in Florida (not to be confused with Jacksonville State in Alabama). Go Dolphins.
MAY 21 UPDATE: As predicted, James Rojas has signed with Alabama.
MAY 26 UPDATE: Alabama is hosting Jahvon Quinerly (pictured left) this weekend. Unless he can get a waiver, he would have to sit a year and have three years remaining. Sitting out would not be such a bad thing with James Bolden having only one season to play and the distinct possibility of Kira Lewis leaving for the NBA after next season. To make room for him, somebody gotta go! See 4/19/19 update above for more info on JQ.
MAY 28 UPDATE: As expected, Tevin Mack has withdrawn his name from consideration for the 2019 NBA Draft. However, there is some speculation that he may not return to Alabama. A big clue comes in the form of Oats full-court pressure of Quinerly. PART 2: Multiple sources have reported that Mack will offer his services elsewhere.
MAY 29 UPDATE: “Now we have one open scholarship. I can’t speak about kids until they officially come in and sign some papers,” Oats told reporters at the SEC meetings, “but I like where we’re at with recruiting and I anticipate having the last scholarship filled pretty quick here with a pretty quality player. That would be my hope. I feel like we got the right guys out of the portal.”
JUNE 1: Tevin Mack is reportedly taking an official visit to Clemson on Monday.
JUNE 2 UPDATE: IT’S HAPPENING!!!
JUNE 10 UPDATE: Tevin Mack is heading to Clemson as a grad transfer. Buh-Bye.