Nate Oats, the head coach for the University of Alabama Men’s basketball program, announced Thursday on 100.9 with Wimp and Barry Sanderson that Senior Herbert Jones would be the team’s captain for the 2020-21 campaign.
The second-year head coach went into discussion regarding Jones’ leadership abilities and noticeable improvement on the offensive side of the ball.
“He’s unbelievable,” Oats said. “… Sometimes the leaders on some of these teams — you look at a Tim Duncan — sometimes, these guys aren’t the most vocal guys. That’s kind of Herb, but Herb brings his lunch pail and puts his hard hat on and just brings it every day.
He continued, “And I’ll say this: he’s been shooting the ball remarkably well compared to what he had in the past here. We’ve only been able to go live in our practices for the last few weeks here, but he’s been shooting it really well. He’s been in the gym working. I think that’s the No. 1 thing in leadership. If the guys don’t think you’re working harder than them, or at least as hard as them, it’s going to be hard for them to listen to you when you do speak.
“He’s turned himself into one of the hardest-working kids on the team. He’s one of the hardest-playing kids already with all of the little stuff that he does. So, I think Herb’s senior year is set up to be great. We just need to keep him injury-free, and I think we have a pretty good roster to go around him, too.”
Jones was the Tide’s best defender a season ago, and if he can be consistent on offense he will likely find himself on an NBA roster next year. The team leader in Blue Collar Points with 593 — which is used by the coaching staff to measure effort and hustle — the Greensboro, Ala., native led the Crimson Tide in charges taken (22), deflections (84) and floor dives (31).
Jones is one of seven returning players from last season’s team, after choosing to remain in school shortly after testing NBA draft waters — and one of only four that played in 2019-20. Oats and his staff earned commitments from six new players this offseason as they look to build the roster with players that fall better in line with Oats’ schematics.
The most recent signee, Alex Tchikou, arrived on campus Wednesday in time for the first day of classes in Tuscaloosa, Oats said, and the Top100 recruit that reclassified to the 2020 class is one of several newcomers the coaching staff is excited to see on the court this year.
“Jordan Bruner, one of our better recruits coming in, had a triple-double and he was two assists away from another triple-double. He’s got the only triple-double in Yale history,” Oats remarked. “He can pass, dribble and shoot as a 6-10 big man. The new kid, Tchikou, is 6-11 and can shoot threes and take you off the dribble. That’s more of what we’re looking to get, and shoot, I thought we did a pretty good job in Year 1. … We flipped the roster over pretty good in one year, I think.”
You can check out the full interview between Wimp, Barry, and Coach Oats by CLICKING HERE.
Layne Gerbig is a reporter for TideTalkSports covering all sports at The University of Alabama. Follow him on Twitter @DuetscheBammer and don’t forget to follow @TideTalkSports for more breaking news.