Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s basketball inks five highly touted transfers as team sets sights on a national championship

Courtesy of Alabama Men’s Basketball
Alabama men’s basketball has signed on these five transfer athletes to its elite recruiting class.

The Alabama Crimson Tide added rim protection, shooting, and depth by signing five spring transfers this offseason: Aden Holloway, Houston Mallette, Clifford Omoruyi, Labaron Philon and Chris Youngblood. They join a 2024 recruiting class that is ranked top three in the country according to multiple recruiting websites

“I am thrilled with the players we brought in and the value they will add to our program,” head coach Nate Oats said

Each transfer player is expected to have an immediate impact in Tuscaloosa, as all five played major roles at their previous schools in 2023. 

Holloway, a sophomore guard, transferred to Tuscaloosa from Auburn. It was a landmark pickup for the Crimson Tide, who stole a key contributor from its biggest rival. Holloway was a 2024 SEC All-Freshman team selection and started 26 games last year for the Tigers. 

Oats and his team are hoping that the transfer will bring in both high-percentage shooting and solid defensive prowess.

“Coming out of high school as a McDonald’s All-American, Aden was one of the best shooting point guards in the country,” Oats said.

Oats noted the combination of Holloway’s shooting ability and defensive prowess made his “special brand of skill and talent” desirable for his program.

Senior guard Mallette transfers in from Pepperdine, where he started 90 out of 94 games for the Waves. His length and shooting ability fit Oats’ system like a glove, making Mallette a plug-and-play type of player for the Crimson Tide.

“Houston is such a versatile guard with length and has unique play making skills. He can guard one through four and is a knock down shooter,” Oats said. 

Omoruyi, a graduate student, was one of the most sought-after big men in the transfer portal this spring and decided to bring his talents from Rutgers to Alabama. The veteran center is a three-time All-Big Ten honoree and in 2023 was named a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award given to the nation’s top center. 

“Cliff has arguably been one of the best shot blockers in the country and in the Big Ten over the last 25 years,” Oats said. “He is a guy that will anchor our defense and has a great offensive skill set that we will be able to showcase.” 

Oats emphasized that his exceptional athletic ability and 7-foot-6 wingspan would be a “great addition to the team”. 

Alabama also brought in incoming freshman guard Philon. Philon was originally committed to Kansas until late April but shocked people around the country by decommitting and opening back up his recruitment.

Just five days after leaving the Jayhawks, Philon announced that he would be joining the Crimson Tide. Philon brings a significant amount of raw talent to the team, as he is ranked as the sixth best point guard in the class of 2024 by On3

“Labaron is an explosive combo guard that is dynamic in the open floor and can play above the rim. He shot over 40 percent from three in his high school career and is a tenacious competitor,” Oats said.

Youngblood, a graduate student and Tuscaloosa native, transferred in from South Florida, bringing in clutch shooting and a proven winning ability. The guard was named AAC co-player of the year last season with the Bulls and averaged 15.3 points per game during his time with the team. The eye-popping stat with Youngblood is his three-point percentage of 41.6, which will fit in Oats’ offensive scheme well.

Oats called Youngblood a “knock down shooter” and said he is “unbelievable” off the catch. Oats also described the former USF standout as “an exceptional downhill driver who can make explosive plays at the rim” and a “relentless worker.” 

This stacked recruiting class is the highest-rated in the history of the program and marks Oats’ fourth consecutive top-15 class, something that also has never been done at Alabama. 

“I am proud of our coaching staff in being able to add veteran leadership along with the talent of our incoming freshmen,” Oats said. “We are excited to welcome both them and their families to the Alabama basketball program.” 

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