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On March 27, Alabama hired former Buffalo head coach Nate Oats—a 44-year-old rising star in the profession, who led the Bulls to three NCAA Tournament appearances during his four-year tenure as head coach.
Buffalo isn’t a major program. Upon arrival, Oats didn't inherit any superstar recruits. Nonetheless, he signed Justin Moss, who was the MAC Player of the Year in 2014-'15 and also recruited several four-star and fringe four-star prospects along the way.
Once hired at Alabama, he hit the ground running, and he hit it real hard. The Tide’s star guard, the young stud, Kira Lewis Jr., was exploring transfer options and had interest from nearly every top program across the country. After just days of getting comfortable with Oats, Lewis Jr. had his name removed from the transfer portal and announced that he would remain a member of the Tide.
The same went for former top-50 recruit John Petty. He put his name in the transfer portal but it only took him 48 hours to announce that he’d return to Alabama and play for Nate Oats.
The Tide also grabbed one of the top-available transfers in the country in former Villanova guard and McDonald’s All-American, Jahvon Quinerly.
Once he had his roster complete and had adequately explored the transfer market, Oats then moved his focus onto the future of Alabama basketball. Since his hiring, he has offered a slew of prospects, several now showing interest in planning visits to Tuscaloosa.
On Sept. 27, five-star guard Nimari Burnett will take an official visit to Alabama. Burnett counts the likes of Louisville, Michigan, Arizona, Auburn among his offers. He landed his Tide offer on April 17 when the staff visited Prolific Prep to meet with Burnett.
Next up, Burnett’s high school and AAU teammate, Jalen Green. A top-five 2020 prospect landed his Alabama offer in mid-April, as well, and has told several people that he will likely take a visit to Alabama.
Dior Johnson, the 2022 guard, was one of the first prospects in his class to land an offer from Nate Oats. Johnson’s first offer, in middle school, was from Buffalo. In talking with Johnson, he has heavy interest in 'Bama and it is mutual with the staff. They aren’t able to contact him but can speak with his coaches.
Earl Timberlake, the five-star guard out of Dematha in the DMV, landed his Alabama offer on April 28. The staff has seen him play on multiple occasions, including this week, and he has shown interest in potentially taking a visit to Alabama at some point.