Alabama basketball looks to play for the SEC Championship and further into March with arguably the best backcourt in college basketball.
JD Davison, Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford – the three J’s – make up a lethal Alabama basketball backcourt that is right at the top of the SEC heading into the season.
Nate Oats might have his best team on paper since signing up to be the Tide’s coach, so maybe this is the year of the Elephant.
To view teams ranked 19-100, click here
PG: JD Davison (6-3, 195, Fr.)
247Sports #12 overall rated recruit
Projected stats: 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 36.2 3P%
SG: Jahvon Quinerly (6-1, 175, Jr.)
2021 stats: 12.9 points, 3.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 43.3 3P%
Projected stats: 14.6 points, 3.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds, 42.2 3P%
SF: Jaden Shackelford (6-3, 200, Jr.)
2021 stats: 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 34.2 3P%
Projected stats: 15.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 37.0 3P%
PF: Noah Gurley (6-8, 215, Gr.-Sr.)
2021 stats: 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 blocks, 0.9 steals, 33.9 3P% (Furman)
Projected stats: 8.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 blocks, 0.9 steals, 32.6 3p%
C: Charles Bediako (7-0, 225, Fr.)
247Sports #34 overall rated recruit
Projected stats: 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.4 blocks
6: Keon Ellis (6-6, 175, Sr.)
2021 stats: 5.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 38.9 3P%
Projected stats: 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.9 assists, 38.2 3P%
7: Nimari Burnett (6-4, 190, So.)
2021 stats: 5.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals (Texas Tech)
Projected stats: 5.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals
8: James Rojas (6-8, 220, Sr.)
2021 stats: 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds
Projected stats: 3.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.8 blocks
9: Juwan Gary (6-6, 218, So.)
2021 stats: 3.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals
Projected stats: 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals
10: Darius Miles (6-6, 185, So.)
2021 stats: 2.2 points, 0.9 rebounds, 4.3 minutes, 17 GP
Projected stats: 3.8 points, 1.2 rebounds
11: Keon Ambrose-Hylton (6-8, 215, So.)
2021 stats: 1.2 points, 0.7 rebounds, 4.2 minutes, 18 GP
Projected stats: 1.8 points, 0.8 rebounds
Team MVP: Jahvon Quinerly
One of the most hyped-up players way back when he was coming out of high school and heading to Villanova, Jahvon Quinerly now has his chance to enter the college hoops record books in his final chance with Alabama basketball.
Quinerly is a three-point machine who will guide this impressive group of Crimson Tide guards and be one of their go-to scorers throughout the season. He could be in play for the SEC Player of the Year but does play on a team with so many great guards that could diminish his stats. What won’t be diminished is his impact on this Alabama team.
Make-or-Break Player: James Rojas
A very thin Alabama basketball frontcourt would be thrilled if Rojas is able to step up and fill in at the five spot. Charles Bediako will have to be the starter from day one, but the 6-foot-8 Rojas is an undersized body who could be the saving grace for this ‘Bama team down low.
Rojas won’t need to be too much of a scoring threat, although that would be nice to pry defenses away from the three starting guards. However, he will have to provide solid inside play off the bench, particularly by crashing the glass at all costs.
Bench Rating: 7.5/10
Despite having two great bench options on the wing (Ellis and Burnett) Alabama basketball will be searching for who of the remaining role players can step up and give useful minutes.
Gary and Miles showed the most heart last season, but you never know who will make the giant leap from freshman to sophomore season. Someone more than likely will, which should give Nate Oats a solid 8-man roster. Also, look for freshman Alex Tchikou to get some minutes off the bench as he could eventually become Bediako’s backup down low depending on how Rojas pans out in that position.
Analytic to Know: Offensive Efficiency
The Crimson Tide was one of the best offensively efficient teams in the country last season, and by adding Davison looks to be even closer to the top spot this season.
Nate Oats is an incredible offensive coach, thus leading to some of the best guards to joining his program. Davison adds second chance opportunities with his rebounding asset at the guard spot. Furman’s Noah Gurley is also a solid power forward who will shine in the shadow of the three guards. Offensively speaking, Alabama basketball will have zero problems.
Alabama basketball’s trio of starting guards are the best in college basketball. Davison brings the youth and explosion, Quinerly brings the experience and tempo and Shackelford gives nightly scoring. All three will be the top scorers for the Crimson Tide and should combine for at least 40-50 points night in and night out.
We got a glimpse of the Crimson Tide when they played Louisiana a few days ago. Ellis got the start and led ‘Bama in scoring, but Quinerly didn’t play, so that might be more useful information on how good Ellis can be off the bench.
Jusaun Holt also got some time, but it’s so hard to know if he will be a part of the rotation or if that’s Oats’ way of getting a freshman down in the depth chart into a game. Holt had the worse +/- on the team.
Alabama will be a serious contender in the SEC and can certainly make a long run in the ‘Big Dance’. They’ll need a bit more of a frontcourt presence, however, to be thought of in the top tier of teams.