The Alabama Crimson Tide went through a tumultuous 2023-2024 season. The Tide were 6-5 at one point with everyone writing off this year's team. Then they rattled off a run that saw them finish tied for second in the SEC, before losing four of their last six games to end the regular season and SEC tournament.

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But there is a reason it's called March Madness.

Nate Oats and the Alabama coaching staff of Preston Murphy, Ryan Pannone, and Austin Claunch squeezed all the juice possible out of this Alabama team en route to a Final Four appearance, breaking not only the Sweet 16 'curse' that allegedly hung over the Alabama program but also the Elite Eight 'curse' where the Crimson Tide ran into the UConn Huskies in the Elite Eight.

The 2024 team drew some comparisons to the 2004 team. Another comparison? They both lost to UConn. The 2024 team did it in the Final Four, a round after the 2004 team did in the Elite Eight.

What's next for Alabama basketball after an incredible run to Phoenix?

The Tide will head home to Tuscaloosa Sunday afternoon, and then the difficult conversations begin. Who is heading to the NBA, who is moving on from the program, and who is returning to Tuscaloosa?

The only guaranteed person to leave is Aaron Estrada, who is out of eligibility following the 2023-2024 season. It is likely, however, that Mark Sears decides the declare for the NBA draft after a season where he broke the school record for points in a single season with 797 and the record for most games with 20 or more points with 26.

After that, things begin to get murky. Grant Nelson is the biggest wildcard, and his decision could determine what Alabama decides to do in the transfer portal. Before the tournament, I probably would have guessed Nelson would return to college, and potentially even test out the waters of the transfer portal. Now, it's more likely that he heads to the NBA versus the transfer portal, and returning to Alabama appears to be his fallback option.

Oats talked about Nelson's future in the postgame presser.

“I’m sure his draft stock has risen in the tournament, particularly how he played against Carolina, where he had 24-12-5,” Oats said. “He’s one of the four players in the history of the tournament to do that against a single-digit seed."

“This one, 19 and 15, his stock has risen. We’re going to have to sit down and evaluate how much it’s risen, will he get drafted, where will he get drafted.”

Oats continued, “I’d love to have him back, I know that. I always said you do what’s right by the player, by the person. If he’s got a great situation, makes most sense for him not to come back, I’m all for it."

“Noah Clowney, nobody thought he’d be gone after one year and ends up going 21st from the draft last year. If Grant’s stock rose enough to where it makes sense he leaves, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world for him. If he needs another year of college, I’ll welcome him back with open arms. I’d love to welcome him back for another year."

Oats and Nelson will have evaluations to determine where his NBA stock is. ESPN currently has Nelson as the No. 86 overall player in their ratings.

Whatever happens, Alabama fans will forever be grateful for their big man, and will surely continue to support Nelson beyond the Capstone. If nothing else, he will always be remembered for his dunk in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

For the rest of the Tide roster, it's likely a decision between the transfer portal or returning, as Mark Sears is the only other Alabama player in the ESPN Top 100 for this year's NBA draft.

While Oats is having the draft or transfer conversations with his players, he'll also be recruiting in the transfer portal. The Crimson Tide landed 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard Houston Mallette from Pepperdine as a transfer. We also know Alabama is actively talking to players who are in the portal already, including contacting Rutgers transfer Clifford Omoruyi, who stands at 6-foot-10, 230 pounds.

As if Oats didn't already have a lot on his plate, he'll also have to begin interviews to replace assistant Austin Claunch, who took the head coaching job at UTSA. Oats may also need to replace Ryan Pannone, who was a finalist for the Fresno State job before removing himself from the running. He'll surely be linked to other jobs across the country this cycle.

Tide 100.9 will keep track of the moves around the Crimson Tide's roster and coaching staff heading into the 2024-2025 season.

Wyatt Fulton is on-site in Phoenix for coverage of the NCAA Men's Tournament Final Four for Tide 100.9. Coverage is sponsored by the Sportsbook at Pearl River Resort. Located at Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, they offer traditional sports betting in which guests can bet on all professional league sports and major collegiate sporting events.



Alabama's Final Four Loss to UConn

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Sights from the Airport as the Tide Head to Phoenix

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Alabama Advances to Their First Final Four

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Alabama's Elite Win over North Carolina in the Sweet 16

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Alabama's Hard-Fought Win Over GCU

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Alabama Men's Basketball vs Charleston

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

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