With Alabama basketball players at NBA Draft Combine, Nate Oats' staff searches for new talent

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News
Jan 12, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Josh Primo (11) drives against Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. (right) during the first half at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story misidentified the father of basketball prospect Brandon Miller. His father is Darrell Miller, a walk-on football player on Alabama’s 1991 team.

Three Alabama basketball players, including one who is still weighing his NBA options, are participating in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. 

Forwards Herbert Jones and John Petty Jr. have completed their Crimson Tide careers and are likely looking to impress a particular team and earn a second-round draft slot in the two-round draft.

Josh Primo’s future at Alabama, meanwhile, might depend on how he performs this week. Primo played in 30 games with 19 starts. He is also one of the youngest players at the combine and intrigues some of the stronger teams at the end of the first round who aren’t looking for an immediate starter.

That leaves Alabama coaches in a quandary. A first-round selection would be a second consecutive first-rounder to play for Nate Oats, a valuable data point in recruiting. On the other hand, the Crimson Tide’s 2021-22 roster would clearly be stronger if Primo returns for his sophomore season.

Primo was listed as a top shooting guard prospect by on Monday, where he was referred to as “a raw but promising two-way guard with a 6-foot-11 wingspan.” The option to return still exists for Primo, who signed with an NBA-certified agent but must make a decision by July 7.

Guard Jaden Shackleford, who declared himself draft eligible but did not hire an agent or receive a combine invitation, must also decide by that date.

ESPN2 (June 24) and ESPNU (June 25) will provide coverage of selected 5-on-5 games from the NBA Combine, airing from 2-6 p.m. CT.

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The Alabama staff continues to look for players who will help it reload for the 2022-23 roster. The Crimson Tide hosted five-star forward Brandon Miller of Nashville Cane Ridge High School last weekend. Miller, a top-10 national prospect, is the son of former Alabama walk-on football player Darrell Miller. The UA staff also went on the road to scout numerous high-profile targets, including DeMatha (Md.) point guard Rodney Rice, during the week.

Reach Cecil Hurt at or via Twitter @cecilhurt