Alabama basketball player Nate Oats explains why he didn’t choose Kentucky’s opening positions

Alabama basketball player Nate Oats explains why he didn’t choose Kentucky’s opening positions
Alabama basketball player Nate Oats explains why he didn’t choose Kentucky’s opening positions

Alabama head coach Nate Oats made headlines earlier in the offseason when he issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to the Crimson Tide despite rumors he might take over as head coach at Kentucky following the departure of John Calipari.

“I am fully committed to this team and this university,” Oats said in the statement. “We have already accomplished some great things here, and I want nothing more than to see the University of Alabama win its first national championship in men’s basketball. Despite any rumors to the contrary, you can be assured that I will continue to pursue that goal as your head coach.”

In a recent interview, Oats explained why he wanted to stay at Alabama when the head coaching position at Kentucky opened up.

“I think we have a chance to win the national championship at Alabama,” Oats said, according to college basketball insider Seth Davis on Bleacher Report. “And I think it would mean a lot more to win here than maybe somewhere where they’ve won with a lot of different coaches over a period of time where it’s almost expected. At a place like Kentucky, it’s been a disappointing year if you don’t make the Final Four.

“I would really like to win one here. I think we’ve put together a squad that can do that,” Oats continued. “I like working with the people I have here. I’ve grown comfortable here, my family has grown comfortable here, I’ve decided I want to stay here.”

Last season, Oats led Alabama to the Final Four, the best finish in program history, before falling to eventual champion Connecticut. Oats has helped turn Alabama into a true basketball school. Before his arrival ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Crimson Tide had only been to two NCAA Tournaments since 2006. Since being at Alabama, he has appeared in the NCAA Tournament every season (except for the canceled 2020 tournament), advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 2021 and 2023, in addition to his Final Four berth last season.

Later in the interview with Davis, Oats clarified that he had never been officially offered the job in Kentucky and that he wanted to clarify his commitment to the Alabama basketball club due to the heavy speculation.

“I was never offered the job, I don’t want people to think I turned it down, I didn’t,” Oats said. “I took my name off the list before it even got to that point.”

How good will Alabama basketball be in the 2024-25 season?

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats reacts after battling the Connecticut Huskies in the semifinals of the men's Final Four of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at State Farm Stadium.
© Joe Rondone-Arizona Republic

Looking ahead to next season, Oats has done incredible work in the portal this year. The current Alabama basketball team is one of the strongest in the country. Led by the duo of returning graduate students, guard Mark Sears and forward Grant Nelson, and center Cliff Omoruyi from Rutgers, this could be Oats’ best Alabama team yet.

Alabama is already being considered by many as one of the favorites for next season. They are currently ranked No. 2 in the country in ESPN’s Jeff Borzello’s recent Way-Too-Early Top 25 list.

The way things are looking for Alabama, it’s safe to say Oats made the right decision by staying. Alabama has only gotten better with Oats at the helm, and with one of the most talented rosters in the country, the sky’s the limit for them this season.

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