Nate Oats Says No One Good Enough for 13th Scholarship
Alabama head coach Nate Oats met with media last week to officially announce the Crimson Tide's marquee 2022 matchup with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the C.M. Newton Classic at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Al.
While discussing his excitement for the matchup and the upcoming season he revealed that he was satisfied with the current state of the Crimson Tide roster, despite still having one more available scholarship spot.
“We’ve got the one open scholarship that, as of right now, we’re not gonna fill it,” Oats said, via WVTM 13 News. “But it’s still there if we happen to stumble upon something that makes a lot of sense. But the 12 guys we’ve got are who we plan on rolling with, and I like them a lot. We’ve two weeks of skill instruction with them, and we’ve got a good team."
Alabama and Oats have brought in the No. 5 recruiting class in the country according to the experts at 247Sports. The class features two McDonalds All-Americans in Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley as well as 4-stars Rylan Griffen, Noah Clowney and the top JUCO prospect in Nick Pringle.
Despite losing several players to graduation, the NBA Draft and the transfer portal Oats went out and secured Mark Sears and Dominick Welch out of the transfer portal.
The fourth-year head coach visited with The Next Round Live Podcast on Wednesday and told the show exactly why the 13th scholarship didn't get filled this offseason.
“The strategy is there’s nobody out there good enough that we want,” said Oats in an interview on The Next Round. “We’re not gonna burn it up on somebody just to burn it up. I mean, we kind of swung for some guys in the portal, and honestly, we don’t have holes, I feel like, on the team. If there’s like maybe best available that we could have got that would have really helped us, but right now, there’s just nobody that we feel like would move the needle enough.
“I was a high school coach for 11 years, and I try to look out for guys. When my high school players went somewhere and the coaches didn’t look out for them, I’d get upset. I don’t want to bring a kid in here that’s a transfer that’s expecting to play significant minutes and we just can’t give him the minutes. If you go through our roster, we don’t have too many holes. Now, I’m not saying that means we’re gonna win X number of games or all that, but we’re not missing any one position, like, drastically with a huge hole there.
“So unless they were just that good to really move the needle a lot, I’m not gonna screw a kid, bring him in here, play five minutes a game. I just don’t think it’s right to do that to a kid just to have security in your roster and use all the spots.”
Alabama is looking to improve on a season that saw the Tide finish 19-14 and 5th place in the SEC. Oats and company led Alabama to its first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 14 years but unfortunately the Tide was upset by Notre Dame in the first round.