Nate Oats discusses Alabama basketball's three new additions
Alabama basketball made its three new additions official on Wednesday as it saw four-star forward Charles Bediako, Texas Tech transfer Nimari Burnett and Furman transfer Noah Gurely all sign their national letters of intent with the program.
The trio are three of five new additions joining the program this offseason as five-star point guard JD Davison and four-star forward Jusaun Holt signed in November. The Crimson Tide also signed Langston Wilson in November. However, the four-star forward asked for his release on Monday.
Wednesday, Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats spoke with the media about the latest additions to his roster. Here’s a look at who the Tide is getting in Bediako, Burnett and Gurley.
6-11 | 215 | Fr. | C | Brampton, Ontario | IMG Academy, Fla.
— Rated as the No. 29 overall player and No. 4 center in the nation by Rivals.
— Boasts an impressive 7-foot-2 wingspan to go with plenty of athleticism which allows him to run the floor at the power forward and center positions.
— Competed for Team Canada at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup where he was teammates with current Alabama guard Joshua Primo. Finished that event averaging 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while scoring in double figures in four of his final five contests, including a 19-point, 12-rebound performance against Latvia.
— Competed for UPLAY Canada under head coach Dwayne Washington where he was teammates with current Alabama players Primo and Keon Ambrose-Hylton. Also played alongside Ambrose-Hylton at Andrews Osborne Academy in Willoughby, Ohio during the 2018-19 season before transferring to IMG Academy
— Competed alongside Primo at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp which was held in Chicago during All-Star Weekend in February of 2020, where he impressed numerous NBA Scouts with his raw athleticism and high motor
— Chose Alabama over the likes of Baylor, Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas and others.
Quote from Oats: "He's a big that runs the floor hard. He's athletic, protects the rim, rebounds well. Great kid. Obviously we've got the Canadian relationship, you know he's played with Primo and Keon Ambrose. Those three had a relationship already. So we're excited about getting him here. We've been recruiting him a while and have a really good relationship with him that we built over a long time, and I can't wait to get him on campus and see what he can do.
"He could give us a little bit different big than maybe what we played with this year, but... shoot he gives us some stuff we didn't have. We didn't have the kind of rim protection that he can give us and the athleticism and some of that type of stuff. We're going to continue to work on his skill level. We think he can bring a certain aspect that we haven't had here in the two years we've been here. We're excited about."
6-4 | 190 | So. | G | Chicago, Ill. | Texas Tech | Prolific Prep, Calif.
Texas Tech (2020-21)
— Played in 12 games for the Red Raiders during his freshman season last year, averaging 5.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 17.8 minutes per contest. Shot 28 percent (14 of 50) from the floor, including 17.4 percent (4 of 23) from beyond the arc. Connected on 88.9 percent (32 of 36) from the foul line.
— Scored a season-best 12 points and six steals over 15 minutes against Grambling State on Dec. 6. Shot 2 of 3 from the floor and made all seven of his free-throw attempts.
— Logged a season-high 30 minutes against Abilene Christian on Dec. 9, recording 10 points, four rebounds and three steals.
— Registered 20 or more minutes four times over 12 appearances.
— Chose Alabama over Auburn, Illinois, LSU, Oregon, Southern California and Vanderbilt.
— Rated as the No. 39 overall player and No. 11 shooting guard in the nation for the 2020 class by Rivals.
— Competed for Team USA at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup and helped the team win a gold medal.
— Averaged 25.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game during his senior season at Prolific Prep
— Selected to play in the 2020 McDonald’s All-American game.
Quote from Oats: "We recruited Nimari really hard out of high school, developed a great relationship with him, his family, his parents — really enjoyed getting to know them. You know when we didn't get him initially we thought we handled it correctly, still kept the relationship but we couldn't really talk with him and stuff after he committed. But we handled it correctly when we didn't get him the first time.
"They followed back up. They watched us play a lot. They let us know they enjoyed watching us play. We still had high regards for him as a player. He's one of the best two-way players out there, we thought he was coming out of high school. He can really shoot the ball well. He can defend at a high level. He fits the way we want to play in that regard.
"You know we play multiple guards and we had a lot of guards, but he's coming in with the understanding that he's going to fight for every minute he gets. He wants to play in a system that's more like ours. I think he's going to be great in our system. I think he shoots it well, he drives it, he can play multiple positions in the backcourt and he guards at a high level. He's got a high IQ. ... I think our backcourt will be one of the strongest in the country with the addition of him."
6-8 | 210 | Gr. | F | Fayetteville, Georgia – Furman | Fayette County H.S.
— Three-time All-SoCon honoree averaging 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.52 made 3s while shooting 49.8 percent from the floor and 34.4 percent (96 of 179) from beyond the arc over his three-year career.
— Scored double-figures in 59 of 88 career games, recording 20 or more points 14 times.
— Started all 25 games for Furman last season, averaging 15.4 points, 2.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds on his way to earning second-team All-SoCon honors. Finished his season off strong averaging 26.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game across his final four contests, including a career-high 30-point performance against VMI on March 6.
— 2021 SoCon All-Tournament First Team
— Named first-team Atlanta Journal-Constitution AAAAA All-State and first-team AAAAA all-state and senior player of the year by Hoop Seen as a senior at Fayette County High School.
— Averaged 18.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game in 2017 to help Fayette County to a 23-8 record, region title and state final four appearance.
— Recorded 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game as a junior to earn AAAA all-state honors and Region 5-AAAA Player of the Year accolades.
Quote from Oats: "Noah's a guy that we played against twice. Really had a hard time guarding ourselves, didn't really have an answer for him when we played him. So when his name popped up in the portal, the whole staff was fired up about trying to go after him because if you have a hard time guarding him he'd be a good addition. Plus, he plays the way we want to play. I mean he can make 3s. He can play multiple positions across the frontcourt. He's got good size and athleticism.
“He's a high-character kid. I got to be friends with Coach [Bob] Richey from Furman, said nothing but good things about him. I'm really excited. I think he gives us that versatile big that can play multiple positions that's got a high IQ like we like, can play on the perimeter, can post up as well. Can hit the 3, can pass, dribble and shoot. So he fits what we want as a forward... He's going to be a good addition for us.”