| MBB/WBB Oats: "I'm not going to give you coach speak. We're going to be good."

alabama mike

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Anything less than a ticket to the big dance is a bad year this upcoming season. There is no reason we cannot return to the days of the Plaid Palace and good basketball. Its time to win again.
 

BamaFan334

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I don't personally think that's a high school mentality or an unprofessional way to go about things. Too often it comes across as a used car salesman pitch and it's simply makes me feel like coaches are lying and think we're dumb. You don't have to be brash and tell everyone you're going to kick their teeth in, but I also feel you shouldn't be modest about your athletes that bust their butts for you. We all know we are going to demolish Missouri, but Saban would have you think our boys may not make it to the finals of the Alabama state playoffs. I get the rat poison, yadda yadda, but when speaking to your constituents I appreciate the honesty and what we should expect. I think Alabama fans have waited the last ten years (just using a round number) to know we will be competitive on the hardwoods. I came to Alabama while Grant was coaching, and his quiet no nonsense persona was one I couldn't align with, so Avery and now Oats being a little more outspoken is more of who I am and what I like to hear. I don't think this will hurt fundraising efforts either, as most of us urn for the old days of when we competed and love to get jacked up and seeing our program on the rise. To each their own of course. I just hope he's right!!!
 

Brandon Van de Graaff

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I pretty much agree with you. Don't take my comments to mean I have an issue with Oats' style, because I don't. It's just different than what we are used to, and different than how I would probably handle it in his same shoes. But, don't think for a second that I don't love the confidence and his willingness to go toe to toe with anyone, especially auburn. While I would likely take a more cautioned and modest approach to most things in a similar position, I'm not sure that's the right way for a program like Alabama basketball (especially right now). Oats isn't afraid to speak his mind, isn't afraid to make waves, and won't back down from anyone. The program needed to take on that same persona, and I think it has to a degree. It needed a culture change similar to the way the football team needed one after Shula was fired.
 

Brandon Van de Graaff

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I should also add, as for the comparison to Gus, while both can be brash, I believe Oats is much more honest about it. I've heard Oats discuss his disappointment in his players and talk about negatives a lot since he's been here. Gus (and I listen to a lot of his in season PC's) often times just says stuff his fan base wants to hear and never talks negatives. If success or expectations don't come to pass, he kicks the can down the road and promises it'll get better.
 

Brandon Van de Graaff

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You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hates auburn more than me, but I don't understand that line of thought. I also sometimes watch them play when Alabama isn't playing (and hope the lose). After they lose, I enjoy finding the radio audio from Stan White of crucial calls that go against them and playing them on loop as I sit in a bubble bath and sip only the finest champagne.
 

TerryP

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Ya know, if you hate a team so much that you refuse to watch their ball games perhaps you hate a team too much. 🤷‍♂️ I'll certainly be watching the Kentucky opener, their game against UGA, LSU, Tennessee, and A&M. All likely to be good football games and with the exception of one game (UK) I couldn't give two rips who wins (at this point in the season.)
 
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Bama News



Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats said Friday he believes his team has the talent to compete for an SEC title in his second season at the helm.

“I think we’ll be much improved,” Oats said when asked about expectations Friday during a video news conference, his first since the spring. “Our depth is going to be a lot better. As far as expectations -- people ask where we’re going to finish and all that -- I don’t know all that.

"I think we should be competing for championships -- SEC championships, [SEC] tournament championship, making a run in the NCAA tournament. I think we’ve got the talent. There has to be a lot of stuff that comes together to do that. The chemistry has to be good. Obviously injuries play a part in the season. How guys perform -- everything looks great on paper, but you actually have to get out and perform a little bit too.

"We’ve got high expectations. We’re not going to shy away from them. I think we’ve got a really talented roster, a roster that fits how we want to play better.”

Alabama finished last season 16-15, earning the No. 9 seed in the SEC men’s basketball tournament before its second-round game against Tennessee was canceled because of COVID-19. In Oats' first season in Tuscaloosa, the Tide earned a signature win with an upset of No. 4 Auburn but also lost three of its last four games to stumble into the SEC tournament likely needing a sweep of Nashville to make the NCAA tournament.

Leading scorer Kira Lewis left for the NBA this offseason but Alabama adds the nation’s 12th-best recruiting class, according to 247 Sports, as well as graduate transfer center Jordan Bruner. The team will also have guard Jahvon Quinerly, a transfer last year from Villanova, eligible to play and will return two players, James Rojas and Juwan Gary, from ACL injuries that wiped out their 2019-20 seasons.

“Obviously the season is going to be a little bit different from a normal season, being that you’re going to have guys possibly out with COVID, this, that and the other,” Oats said. “I do think depth’s a bigger deal this year than it’s ever been in college basketball. We need depth last year and didn’t have it with all the injuries we had.”

Here are more notes from Oats' 30-minute meeting with reporters:

-- Even with the NCAA setting Nov. 25 its start date for the season, Oats said Alabama is still in a “holding pattern” about its non-conference schedule until the SEC makes decisions. He also did not yet know whether fans would be allowed in Coleman Coliseum for home games.

-- Oats said none of his players have needed to be quarantined or isolated because of COVID-19 for almost the past month. “Back initially [after practices resumed] when guys were getting contact tracing and all that, you were missing -- it’s hard to have a full team when guys are quarantined and isolated and this and that,” he said. “We’ve gotten past that. I think our guys have been pretty smart.” Oats said his players have done a good job “not going to the different parties and whatever to either get the COVID or get caught in a contact tracing type of deal,” and said he has his full roster minus injured players.

-- When Alabama began limited practices over the summer, Oats said COVID-19 regulations essentially limited the sessions to one player per basket. The rules have since loosened but coaches still wear masks and players are spread out during huddles. “It’s still basketball at the end of the day,” Oats said. “We’re getting after it and we’re playing and we’re practicing. When the ball goes and the drills are live, it’s all the same. It’s all the other stuff outside of it that’s different.” Full preseason practices can begin Oct. 14.

-- Oats said John Petty, who decided to return for his senior season, had NBA teams interested in drafting him and would have ended up on a two-way, minimum-salary contract. “His goal is to play his way into the first round and get a multi-year, guaranteed contract,” Oats said. Petty welcomed his second child, a son, on Monday, Oats said.

-- Oats said Bruner, the team’s top projected under-the-rim player, is “everything we thought he was going to be." The top returning bigger player from last season, Alex Reese, was recently cleared from offseason hip surgery and has been shooting well in practice.

-- Jahvon Quinerly is expected to play point guard but Oats noted that several other players could man that spot, including freshman Josh Primo, senior Herb Jones and sophomore Jaden Shackelford. On Shackelford, Oats said they’re playing him more at point guard even though it’s not his natural position. “[It’s] to help him become a better combo guard, rather than just a straight two-guard,” Oats said. “If you look at the NBA, a lot of those guys who are playing the point in the NBA were straight two-guards in college. We’re getting him better bringing the ball up the floor, handling the pick-and-roll, that type of stuff.” Shackelford has also improved his defense, Oats said, adding to his established prowess as a shooter.

-- Rojas, a JUCO transfer last year, is getting “healthier and healthier” and practicing well after returning from an ACL injury, Oats said. “He’s turning into the exact kind of player we thought he was going to be.” Gary, who missed his freshman year with an ACL, is about a month away from returning to live action. Oats said Gary’s injury happened later in the preseason last year, was more severe and that his rehab has been affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.

-- Reports last week about the ACC pushing an NCAA tournament next spring that includes all Division I teams caused a stir and the idea was essentially shot down by NCAA executive Dan Gavitt. Oats was asked Friday for his opinion on the proposal and called it “ridiculous,” saying conference tournaments already give each team a chance to make the NCAA tournament. “I think we need to have non-conference [regular season] games and I think we’re going to have them; the NCAA just came out with it,” Oats said. “Now that we’re going to have non-conference games, I really don’t see any need to do what they were talking about. I don’t think it’s going to happen. Shoot, I was a high school coach. Everybody made the tournament in high school. This isn’t high school basketball anymore. You’ve got to earn your way into the NCAA tournament. It’s not everybody gets in. It’s big boy, Division I basketball here.”

-- Oats said there are at least eight or nine players who he would consider starting this season, but that he has told his players that he “rarely” starts his five best players. “I think you have to have punch off the bench,” he said. “If you put your five best scorers on the floor to start the game, that doesn’t always work the best.” Oats wants a good mix of different players in his lineup and off the bench, noting that arguably his best player in Buffalo, Nick Perkins, was a bench player. “Think about getting minutes and playing significant minutes, not starting,” Oats said. “Because you may be one of our five most talented guys and not start this year.” He said who finishes the game is more important that who starts it. “We got to have closers,” Oats added, noting the team’s blown leads last season.

-- Asked about Alabama’s turnovers last season -- they committed 461, the 50th-most in Division I -- Oats reiterated that he has no plans to slow down his trademark fast pace. Instead, Oats said the influx of skill players this year should help the issue, but ultimately it’s a matter of getting used to the pace. He also thinks raw turnovers -- and other statistics such as defensive points per game allowed -- will skew higher because of the team’s pace and number of possessions per game. Oats, once a high school math teacher, instead pointed to efficiency statistics as the better indicator of success.
 

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