Alabama basketball hopes for schedule clarity this week

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama Head Coach Nate Oats catches a ball tossed to him during practice for the Alabama men's basketball team Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

The University of Alabama, along with the rest on the men’s college basketball programs in the NCAA, are hopeful that this week will bring some guidance  and a start date – for the 2020-21 season.

”We’re optimistic that we will hear something soon,” Oats, the head coach at UA, said on Tuesday. “We hope to hear from the NCAA and the SEC about when to start, but I feel better that we will get started.”

Jeff Goodman, a national basketball reporter, said Tuesday via social media that the NCAA Division I Council, which has been weighing options during the coronavirus pandemic, was “set to vote Wednesday on moving the start of the college hoops season to Nov. 21.”

Goodman also said there will be recommendation of playing a minimum of four non-conference games and potential to start with 8 hours per week for coaches to work with players with a target date of Sept. 21.

“We’ve been limited in some ways, but we have gotten some work in that the rules allow,” Oats said. “We’ve has a chance to go some full-court.”

While Oats did not review the entire roster, he did mention some players as performing well.

“I thought (point guard) Jahvon Quinerly (who sat out last season after transferring from Villanova) has the best two practices he has had since he’s been here in the last two days,” Oats said. “He’s really starting to grasp the offense, to make good decisions without having to think about everything.”

The Crimson Tide’s other high-profile transfer, 6-foot-9 Yale graduate Jordan Bruner, has also had a strong September so far, Oats said.

”He leads, he talks, he passes and he shoots,” Oats said. “Our two best shooters in the past two days have been two of our bigs, Bruner and (Alex) Reese.”

Reese was cleared for full-speed work last week after recuperating from off-season hip surgery.

”He is moving pretty well,” Oats said. “He has lost some weight, so between that and the hip feeling better, he’s looking pretty athletic out there.”

Alabama finished 16-15 in Oats’ first season. The Crimson Tide’s postseason, like that of all NCAA teams, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak  

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