The Alabama Crimson Tide is currently in the middle of an SEC championship run. A superstar player, incredible depth and the ability to play at both sides are all reasons the Crimson Tide are one of those teams capable of hanging a national championship banner at the end of the season.
And if that statement seems bold, just ask the Las Vegas bookmakers. Alabama currently has the second best chance of winning the April 3rd trophy.
Halfway through the SEC game, the Crimson Tide is still undefeated.
Some players have achieved too much, others not enough. Here’s a look at my grades for the Crimson Tide so far this season.
Coaching staff: A+
It all starts with head coach Nate Oats and his staff. After a stunning 2021/22 season, Oats and his assistants wanted to build on the success of two years ago. Alabama lost three of its top four scorers last season when Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis and JD Davison made the switch to the NBA. That’s how the 2022 Crimson Tide brought Class #3 – a class that has become the cornerstone of success this year. Alabama also brought in two high-profile transfers to bolster the roster.
It’s one thing to have a roster full of players who can play at a high level – it’s another to employ and produce them all. The Crimson Tide has a rotation of 11 most nights – full of veterans and top recruits. It’s very difficult to manage minutes in this situation – and even more difficult to keep some players from losing confidence when they play poorly and lose minutes. Oats and the rest of the staff have done a phenomenal job of buying in every player on the roster, regardless of personal achievement.
Eventually, Oats and Co. had to deal with a situation that no other employee in the country is facing. Former player Darius Miles was charged with capital murder in the middle of the team’s season. Rather than allow the situation to be detrimental to the team, Alabama has turned the situation around for the better by growing closer as a team while mourning the loss of their former teammate and friend.
Oats is due for a hefty overtime soon – and for good reason.
Markus Sears: A
Sears was one of two transfers to the Crimson Tide program this season — and it delivered on everything expected and more. The Ohio transfer from Muscle Shoals, Ala. is Alabama’s second-best scorer at 13.7 PPG. He’s also improved on defense and leads the team in steals per game (1.5 SPG).
At 30.6 minutes per game, Sears has earned the role of starting point guard at Tuscaloosa — and has become one of the SEC’s top guards.
There was a lot of excitement about Bradley entering 2022-23 – but how would he fit into a loaded group of guards? The former McDonald’s All-American did just that and made a huge step up while Nimari Burnett was out with a wrist injury.
Bradley has started 13 games this season, averaging 8 points and 3.4 assists. He’s hit double digits in nine games this season. His game has slipped a bit in the last four games but he’s still the hard-nosed, tough guard he’s been all season.
Brandon Miller: A+
Miller may be the best player in the country. What else is there to say?
The five-star freshman has done everything and more for this Crimson Tide team, averaging 19.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game – cementing his name in the Player of the Year competition. He also shoots an incredible 44.7% from downtown.
Miller has scored 30+ three times and 20+ eight times this year.
When all is said and done, the future lottery pick could be the best player in the history of the Alabama program.
Noah Clowney: A
Excluding the 21 consecutive 3-point misses in the last six competitions, his grade would have been level with Miller’s.
Clowney was just what the Crimson Tide needed after last season’s woes – a physical, gritty big guy who excels at basketball’s rebound.
And after coming off two shots from deep against Vanderbilt on Tuesday, he may also have his shooting touch back.
Charles Bediako: B-
The Canadian center has started every game this season – with mixed results. On the one hand, Bediako put Oscar Tshiebwe in a torture chamber. On the other hand, he was very inconsistent.
Bediako averages just 5.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game — and has fewer defensive rebounds than the 6-foot-1 Sears.
A lot of this has to do with lazy troubles. Bediako has 75 personal fouls in the season – 20 more than anyone else on the team. Because of this, he only plays 20.1 minutes per game – half the game.
When he’s at his best, he’s still a dominant color presence for Alabama.
Jahvon Quinerly: B
No one knew what to expect from Quinerly, who tore an ACL in March. He returned much earlier than expected – and was very rusty at first.
Quinerly has hit double digits six times since January 3 – and is still the flashy, quick and supportive guard he always was.
He’s starting to shoot the ball well from threes too – he just needs to keep turnovers low.
Noah Gurley: B-
Gurley doesn’t play nearly as many minutes as last season – but he’s still making an impression. At just 16.9 minutes per game, Gurley is still averaging 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
What’s more, he’s emerged as one of the biggest leaders on the team this season – an underappreciated quality.
Rylan Griffen: B
Griffen has fit his role perfectly this season, giving the Crimson Tide valuable minutes off the bench.
As a knockdown shooter and playmaker, Griffen can work his way into the starting XI if he continues his strong game.
Nimari Burnett: B+
That grade would be much higher were it not for Burnett missing nine games due to wrist surgery. His defensive performance against Houston’s Marcus Sasser helped Alabama earn its biggest win of the season.
Mix that with an outstanding ability from deep? Burnett is the perfect two guard for Oats’ system – and he could be back on the starting lineup next time.
Dominik Welch: D
When Welch switched from St. Bonaventure to the Crimson Tide preseason, many believed he would be a regular starter on the wing. After being sidelined for the first 12 games of the season, Welch has yet to find his role — and was extremely poor at what he was supposed to bring to the team — 3-point shooting.
Welch shoots 14.3% from field and 13.6% from depth. Welch’s 10.7 minutes per game could be even shorter if he can’t start making some shots.
Nick Pringle: A-
This grade seems high for a player who only plays 7.5 minutes per game. But realistically, Pringle has been a big win for Alabama all season. When his name is called, he delivers. Pringle makes an effort with every possession and is fun with his athleticism.
Of 22 shot attempts this season, Pringle has made 21 of them. That’s good enough for 95.5%.
Additionally, Pringle gives Crimson Tide fans what they want after every game – a short meme clip on Twitter.
Overall grade team: A
Alabama certainly exceeded expectations this season. However, the Crimson Tide has been exposed three times by UConn, Gonzaga and Oklahoma. If Alabama can close out the season with an SEC championship and a deep run in March, that grade could easily move to an A+.
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