NCAA Final Four 2024: How Alabama’s Nate Oates overhauled the Crimson Tide roster, staff ahead of historic run


As the Crimson Tide prepare to face No. 1 overall seed UConn with a trip to the national championship on the line on Saturday, it’s safe to say Alabama coach Nate Oats has a hefty list of responsibilities on his plate this week. However, preparing for an opponent — even one as formittable as the reigning national champion and betting favorite to repeat in 2024 — is nothing compared to the task that Oats faced this time last year. 

Back then, the Tide had just wrapped up their 31-6 season with an exit in the Sweet 16 as the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Oats was on the verge of losing three assistant coaches (Charlie Henry, Antoine Pettway, and Bryan Hodgson) to different college jobs. On top of that, he was losing seven of his nine top scorers. That included his two best players — Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney — who entered the NBA Draft. 

“While I was really happy (for my assistants), it did cause some stress,” Oats said last week before his team faced North Carolina in the Sweet 16. “Charlie (Henry) and Bryan (Hodgson) had their jobs, and then the day that (Antoine) Pettway got his, I all of a sudden realized, I have no assistants anymore.”

Oats quickly retooled his staff to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the sport. He hired Austin Claunch (Nicholls), Ryan Pannone (New Orleans Pelicans) and Preston Murphy (Creighton) to round out his coaching staff. Those assistants helped land Mohamed Wague (West Virginia), Grant Nelson (North Dakota State), Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (Fullerton), and Aaron Estrada (Hofstra) from the transfer portal.

The four transfers joined key returners Mark Sears, Nick Pringle and Rylan Griffen. Freshmen Jarin Stevenson, Mouhamed Dioubate and Sam Walters rounded out the roster to form the top-ranked scoring offense in the country. The Crimson Tide’s high-powered offense and fast-tempo style of play has resulted in the program’s first Final…

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Author : Cameron Salerno

Publish date : 2024-04-02 20:35:49

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