#26 Alabama Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #5 SEC
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The Avery Johnson era turned out to be a disappointing one as Alabama reached the NCAA Tournament just once in Johnson’s four years with the school. This year, the Crimson Tide are moving forward with new coach Nate Oats who led Buffalo to three NCAA Tournaments in the last four years. The SEC will be a much tougher challenge for Oats, but he has the players to compete in year one. Avery Johnson was able to bring talent into Alabama, but not able to win with it while Oats has done the opposite and won big with lesser talent. If Oats’ coaching success carries over to the major conference ranks, Alabama should be one of the top teams in the SEC.
2018-19 Record: 18-16, 8-10
2018-19 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Nate Oats
Coach Record: 0-0 at Alabama, 96-43 overall
Key Departed Players:
Donta Hall, Center, 10.5 ppg
Tevin Mack, Forward, 9.0 ppg

Dazon Ingram, Forward, 7.1 ppg
Riley Norris, Forward, 6.3 ppg

Daniel Giddens, Forward, 1.9 ppg
Avery Johnson Jr., Guard, 1.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Kira Lewis, Sophomore, Guard, 13.5 ppg
John Petty, Junior, Guard, 10.2 ppg
Herb Jones, Junior, Forward, 6.4 ppg
Alex Reese, Junior, Forward, 6.3 ppg

Galin Smith, Junior, Forward, 3.8 ppg
Key New Players:
James Bolden, Senior, Guard, Transfer from West Virginia
Javian Davis, Freshman, Forward
Jaylen Forbes, Freshman, Guard (4 star, 104 overall)
Juwan Gary, Freshman, Forward (4 star 93 overall)
Raymond Hawkins, Freshman, Center (3 star 190 overall)
James Rojas, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Junior College
Jaden Shackelford, Freshman, Guard (4 star 107 overall)
When Avery Johnson was fired, Alabama was at risk of losing the talented players he recruited, but Kira Lewis, John Petty and Herb Jones all decided to stay while Tevin Mack and Dazon Ingram left. Lewis was just 17 years old during his freshman season and still earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors. Lewis led the team in points (13.5) and assists (2.9) as a freshman. As an 18-year-old sophomore, Lewis should only get better and should be one of the top players in the SEC. Petty had a roller-coaster sophomore campaign, scoring five or fewer points in nine contests but 17 or more points in six games. Petty is not a bashful shooter as he’s averaged 5.9 3PA per game in his career, but he shot just 34.5% from three as a sophomore. A more consistent junior season from Petty would do wonders for the Crimson Tide. Herb Jones is in a similar situation as a junior with great potential that hasn’t put it all together yet. Jones is 6-foot-7 with guard skills and led the team in steals, was second in blocks and third in assists as a sophomore. Jones just hasn’t been able to produce consistently at Alabama and the hope is he can finally realize his full potential under Nate Oats. Alex Reese and Galin Smith have been reserves during their two seasons at Alabama, but both should see increased roles as upperclassmen. James “Beetle” Bolden could be one of the top impact transfers in the NCAA. Bolden was an exciting player at West Virginia who averaged 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 18 games last year. Bolden has shot 39.9% from three in his career, and his addition could make Alabama dangerous on offense. James Rojas is a junior college transfer who earned NJCAA First Team All-American honors last year. Rojas averaged 19.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals last season and could be an X-factor if his success translates to the SEC. Lastly, Alabama has five freshmen joining the team this year. Juwan Gary, Jalen Forbes and Jaden Shackelford are all four-star recruits while Raymond Hawkins is a three-star and Javian Davis is a redshirt freshman. Depth could be a weak point for Alabama, so they will need at least a couple of the freshmen to make instant impacts.  
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.0 (186th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.6 (182, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (197, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.5 (159, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (229, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (209, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.6 (314, 14)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (85, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (257, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (246, 10)
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#79 Juwan Gary
#91 Jaylen Forbes
#98 Jaden Shackelford