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Tide lands WVU big man Mohamed Wague: Bama Hoops finalizes roster with important front court pickup

One of Alabama’s biggest question marks has now become one of its strengths

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, what a difference a month makes.

Just 30 days ago, we were sweating bullets about the shape of Alabama’s interior game after the loss of Clowney and Angry Chuck Bediako. Since then quite a lot has happened, and one of Alabama’s biggest question marks has now become arguably its greatest strength.

The Tide was already returning Nick Pringle, a high-energy high-ceiling forward, but ‘Bama’s front court was perilously thin. So, it went to the recruiting mats, and wrestled away North Carolina product, Jarin Stevenson away from the Tarheels to join him in the paint. Still, though, ‘Bama was light on post production, and needed someone that could play lightning tempo offense and handle the ball as a point-forward: enter NDSU transfer Grant Nelson.

But something was still missing, something that was exposed last year in regular season tilts against physical teams: Alabama needed a bully. It needed a rim defender. A finisher. An intimidator. Someone with a defense-first mindset comfortable banging bodies in the paint.

And today, Alabama finalized its 2023 roster, and solidified what is now a truly terrifying post game, by adding West Virginia C Mohamed Wague from the Portal, following Huggie Bear’s Quitfiring.

On the stat sheet, Wague isn’t going to excite roto-players. He averaged just 4 points and 3 boards a game. But, in terms of advanced numbers, there is a lot to be excited about here. Wague’s production was comparable to the WVU starters at 16.1 points per 40 minutes; he led the team in rebounds per 40 at 11.4; was the best interior shooter on the team; and only committed 2.7 TO per 40 as a center — bottom third, even on his own team. By season’s end, he would be the most impactful offensive player (126.5 PP/100 Possessions), and defensive player (99.4 PP/100 possessions).

Potential, yes. And a frightfully lot of it. Lieterally dozens of teams offered him as soon as Wague went into the Portal, and he had visits with at least a dozen.

But, this is the man to throw in the paint against the Floridas and Kentuckys and Tennessees of the conference...and whose big frame and balanced game will pay dividends next March, when Alabama had been consistently pushed around.

Perhaps the best part of all this, is that where Nelson can affect shots at the rim and run the floor, and Stevenson can step outside to play wing, and Pringle can thunderdunk from the key, Wague’s game is complementary: he can clean the glass, terrify interior penetration, and bang home bunnies.

Absolutely perfect fit.

Welcome to Tuscaloosa, Mohamed, and Roll Tide