Key basketball transfer plans to visit Alabama

Ncaa San Diego St Alabama Basketball
Alabama head coach Nate Oats looks at the scoreboard in the second half of a Sweet 16 round college basketball game in the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament against San Diego State, Friday, March 24, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton

TUSCALOOSA-According to 247 sports and BamaOnline reporter Hank South, North Dakota State transfer Grant Nelson plans to visit Nate Oat’s program in Tuscaloosa. A scheduled date has not been confirmed, but we could hear one within the next few days. Nelson is the No.1 ranked transfer power forward.

With Charles Bediako’s decision to remain in this year’s NBA draft, this would be a key pickup for the program as a replacement for the former center.

Nelson stands at 6 feet 11 inches and weighs 235 pounds. He almost grazed 18 points per game with nine rebounds last season for the Bison. Nelson’s standout play earned him an All-First team selection in the Summit Conference as a junior.

Nelson tested NBA Draft waters before electing to return for another collegiate season, where he entered his name in the transfer portal. He’s one of the highest ranked players in the portal for any position, with interest from elite programs like Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor, LSU, Arkansas and Gonzaga.

This isn’t a surprising given Nelson’s rare arsenal of offensive production. He has incredible handles for his size, and his ability to clone himself as a point forward with a near seven foot frame places him in the “unicorn” archetype. The pure fundamentals he carries on offense propels him to convert efficiently near the rim, a hole that has been lost since Bediako announced his decision to leave the Tide program. His length can be a factor on the defensive end as well, although it’s not one of his major strengths.

With all of this in mind, it would be curious to see how his game translates to the SEC level. In NDSU’s first game of the season on the road against Arkansas last year, Nelson had 17 points on 55% shooting from the field. It would seem that Nelson isn’t timid when it comes to stepping up his game, which is a positive for any team recruiting him.

“It just seemed like when someone expected more of him, he just kept going,” Nelson’s high school coach Derek Gathman said.

After Alabama point guard Mark Sears announced he would be returning for his senior season with the Tide yesterday, the interest from Nelson is another step in the right direction for Oats who still has work to do this off season.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Local News