Bust out the quarantinis and dust off that bottle of champagne, let’s start Happy Hour early on this beautiful Friday. Nate Oats has been absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail during this shut-down period. With a top 15 recruiting class already in tow, thanks to commitments from a potential one-and-done Josh Primo, an instant-impact JUCO guard in Keon Ellis, and a pair of 4-star forwards in Keon Ambrose-Hylton and Darius Miles, Oats has now landed his pièce de résistance, Jordan Bruner.
The 6’9 big man from Yale is the absolute perfect fit in Nate Oats’ scheme. Coming off of a season where he averaged a near double-double with 10.9 PPG and 9.2 RPG, he’ll also give Alabama a desperately-needed presence in the middle of the court. A few weeks ago, I mentioned how perfectly Bruner would fit in with Oats and the Tide:
Let’s start with Oats’ number one priority right now: Yale center, Jordan Bruner. The 6’9 big man is the prototypical post player in Oats’ system. He can score both at the basket (51.9% 2P%) and, when necessary, from distance (32.3% 3P%), he rebounds (16.5% REB%) and defends (87.6 DRtg, 6.2% BLK%) at a high level, and he’s a smart (obviously) player that can handle the ball and distribute (21.7% AST%). The guy is the real deal.
Bruner’s final stat-line from this season was incredibly impressive: 10.9 PPG / 9.2 RPG / 3.7 APG/ 1.7 BPG. Against a loaded LSU team in the NCAA Tournament last year, Bruner dropped 16 points and 9 rebounds with a crucial block late in the game that kept Yale within striking distance of the Bayou Bengals. He also recorded double-doubles against North Carolina and Clemson this year, and was a basket short of doing so against a huge Penn State team as well. So, he’s not just bullying Ivy League teams.
Bruner is the final, missing piece in Nate Oats’ restructuring of the Alabama roster. The 2021 Crimson Tide will be the first real look at what Oats wants his teams to look like during his time here in Tuscaloosa. Even if Kira Lewis and John Petty both stay in the draft (Lewis is almost certainly not returning, Petty is probably 50/50), take a look at this potential rotation for the Tide:
POINT 6’0 Jahvon Quinerly (former McDonald’s All-American)
GUARD 6’3 Jaden Shackelford (All-SEC Freshman, averaged 16.5 PPG in SEC play)
GUARD 6’6 Josh Primo (potential one-and-done talent)
WING 6’7 Herb Jones (senior do-it-all captain and defensive stalwart)
POST 6’9 Jordan Bruner (stud big with wing skills)
GUARD 6’6 Keon Ellis (walking bucket)
POST 6’9 James Rojas (basically was Bruner in JUCO)
GUARD 6’5 Juwan Gary (four-star redshirt)
POST 6’8 Keon Amborse-Hylton (four-star big with wing skills)
WING 6’7 Darius Miles (four-star athletic wing with a jumper)
Three of Alex Reese, Jaylen Forbes, Javian Davis, and Galin Smith (Don’t really want to get into speculation)
This is going to be a long, athletic, attacking team that is going to score a ton of points. With Bruner being the perfect five in the middle. Imagine running pick-and-pops with Quinerly and bigs like Bruner and Rojas, or pick-and-rolls with the same two while guys like Shackelford, Ellis, and Primo fill open spots on the perimeter.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself right now. But this is a big day for ‘Bama basketball. Forget the disappointing end to the 2020 season, 2021 and beyond is going to be a Tide Hoops Revival. Nate Oats has thrown down the gauntlet in the past month. Good times are ahead, folks.