Alabama basketball is enjoying one of its best starts in school history, sitting at 16-2 and 6-0 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide’s 2022 recruiting class, which placed fourth nationally, has paid off tremendously.
It could be argued that true freshmen this season, 5-star recruits Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley, and 4-star recruits Noah Clowney and Rylan Griffen all individually exceeded expectations. The same applies to Transfer Mark Sears and JUCO Transfer Nick Pringle.
It’s hard to imagine Alabama’s Class of 2023 having the same impact, but it’s a solid group nonetheless. While Nate Oats didn’t land an elite 5-star player in the class, he did find a trio of tracks that seem to fit the culture and program very well.
A lanky and versatile 4 star winger, Sam Walters is currently the highest rated Commitment in class. At 6ft 9in, Walters is quite adept and has the ability to stretch the ground from the outside line. In that way, he has some similar qualities to current Alabama star Noah Clowney, although he’s a far cry from the presence of color Clowney has become. Walters will need to put some weight on when he arrives in Tuscaloosa, but can be an effective goalscorer and perennial contributor at the SEC level.
Mouhamed Dioubate is a 4-star combo physical forward from New York. He plans to serve as an undersized big or two-way wing for Alabama basketball.
RJ Johnson is a hefty 3-star guard considered the top player in the state of Alabama in the 2023 cycle. The 6ft 3in Johnson can play on both backcourts and gives Coach Nate Oats another malleable figure.
Walters, Dioubate and Johnson all project themselves as longtime players. Assuming Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney turn pro after their freshman seasons and senior forward Noah Gurley also departs, there will be playing time available at both forward spots for Alabama.
While the Tide expect to return Charles Bediako and Nick Pringle to frontcourt, both players play almost exclusively in the five or center position. Sam Walters and Mouhamed Dioubate could immediately fight for the start in the four.
In the backcourt, Alabama basketball is likely to lose Jahvon Quinerly and Dom Welch. Still, the Crimson Tide could potentially be very strong on guard by bringing back Mark Sears, Jaden Bradley, Rylan Griffen and Nimari Burnett.
If that’s the case, Oats will likely come out with a three-guard lineup next season to capitalize on that strength. It would be hard to imagine RJ Johnson cracking the starting lineup in this scenario, but he would provide valuable depth at the guards in the first year.
Should Nate Oats decide to dive into the transfer portal again, he would likely take a forward. Noah Clowney was an Impact player as a freshman, which could lead to his unexpected departure. When he leaves, the closet up front will be pretty much empty, with the two newly arrived rookies being the only natural candidates for the position.
While the 2023 class for Alabama basketball doesn’t jump off the page like the last few classes, it’s a viable group that could be the core of a very good team a few years down the line.