Nate Oats loss is Arkansas Basketball’s win to Barry Dunning, Alabama’s best prep player
Years ago DeMarcus Cousins, originally from Mobile, Alabama, decided to leave the state of Alabama to follow the best path to the NBA that he himself has seen.
En route to Kentucky, then the SEC’s most attractive basketball destination, Cousins was joined by fellow Alabama native Eric Bledsoe.
Fast forward a dozen years and now, another basketball player from Mobile, Alabama, is ready to say “goodbye” to the Crimson Tide and other schools in the home state.
This time around, it’s Barry Dunning, Jr., who today announced his engagement in an Arkansas basketball program that may soon revert to his mid-1990s status as the most feared of the SEC.
Dunning, a 6’6 winger who won Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year in 2020-21, is a four-star player who averaged 21.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists decisive, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game as a junior last season. .
“He could be a two-year-old and be done playing and turn pro,” his high school coach Phillip Murphy told AL.com.
“It depends on how he evolves. If it moves with the curve we’ve seen, I think that’s a very likely scenario. It has all the measurable elements, all the tools. As he continues to hone his skills, the sky is the limit.
“His ceiling is so high and he’s not yet close to reaching it.”
Getting Dunning is a blow to Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman, who has already lifted his Razorbacks among the nation’s top teams after a solid finish last season ending in the Elite Eight.
While Kentucky is still a power to be reckoned with, they no longer appear to be Arkansas’ biggest threat in the SEC after a bad 2020-21 that exposed many issues with the one-and- system. done by John Calipari.
Instead, Musselman’s main rival for SEC supremacy at this point looks like Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats.
Nate Oats, Alabama Basketball and Barry Dunning
Oats, of course, led Alabama’s basketball program to the SEC regular season crown in 2020-21 as well as a Sweet 16 finish.
Even though the Crimson Tide have lost many of their top seniors this offseason, Oats were expected to have a powerful returning squad in 2020-21. It seems questionable, however, as two essential underclassmen – Josh Primo and Jaden Shackleford – have announced they are leaving the program.
As Alabama returns key players to the bench and a top 10 in the 2021 recruiting class led by JD Davidson, it appears to be losing some ground on Arkansas both in the short term and in the long term.
In the short term, most analysts project Arkansas as a stronger team than Alabama in 2021-2022.
ESPN’s pre-season poll, for example, places Arkansas in 13th place, three spots ahead of Alabama.
And CBS’s Garry Parrish places the Hogs at No.8, ahead of Kentucky (No.13) and Alabama (No.15). Here is the breakdown of Parrish:
“The Razorbacks are losing a lot, including projected first-round pick Moses Moody. “
“But JD Notae is expected to return as a double-digit goalscorer, and Eric Musselman adds at least four experienced double-digit goalscorers via the transfer market, including Chris Lykes (Miami) and Au’Diese Toney (Pitt).”
“Alabama lose four of the top five scorers for a team that won the SEC regular season title and the SEC tournament, including Jaden Shackelford and Herb Jones.”
But putting a top 10 recruiting class underlined by five-star point guard JD Davison, four-star big Charles Bediako and transfers Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech) and Noah Gurley (Furman) should give Nate Oats a chance to compete for consecutive conference championships.
Long-term, Dunning’s commitment to the Hogs hurts Alabama as Nate Oats had “heavily” recruited Dunning since offering him a scholarship in 2019.
“I feel like Alabama is home, every time you stay in the state it’s really home,” Dunning told 247 Sports.
“I love the community there and I love the coach [Nate] Oats, coach Charlie [Henry] and coach [Antoine] Pettway and all. They work really hard.
Perhaps Dunning decided that the Oats system, which emphasizes three-point shooting and layup attempts excluding mid-range jumpers, was not the best. suited to his game, given that he gets most of his point in transition and with a deadly midpoint. – rider range.
Whatever the reason, in the end, the Alabama basketball schedule didn’t even make Dunning’s top 3 picks of Arkansas, South Alabama, and Memphis.
Nate Oats is a great coach, but losing your state’s highest ranked player never looks good (although, for Alabama fans, that beats Dunning by picking Auburn).
Ask Mike Anderson after Malik Monk’s decision.
Barry Dunning and Arkansas basketball
Barry Dunning is Arkansas’ second entry from the class of 2022 after Joseph Pinion of Morrilton.
Pinion, who recruited Dunning and will be staying with him on campus next year, is one of the reasons Dunning picked the Hogs.
The same goes for the basketball coaches in Arkansas and the system they have in place to maximize the potential of rookies.
“It’s good to be a Razorback,” Dunning told Richard Davenport of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“I feel like I can make an impact on the team and maximize my potential as a basketball player and as a man off the court,” said Dunning.
“Seeing Coach Musselman developing guys like Moses Moody, Jaylin Williams and also (Davonte Davis)… seeing these guys and JD Notae growing throughout the season and how they developed they were able to reach the Elite Eight. . “
Dunning added that Arkansas basketball staff, including the GAs, took the time to watch live broadcasts of his games and give him advice.
“They told me some things I needed to work on – just remember to keep that dribble tighter.”
“Even though I wasn’t signed, they gave me advice on my game. Their presence through the good and bad sides of my recruiting really marked me.
The Arkansas basketball program also stood out for Phillip Murphy, Dunning’s coach at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.
“They’ve been the most consistent recruiting him since the start,” Murphy told AL.com. “Their entire coaching staff was at every game we played in Georgia a few weeks ago. Everything is fine for him.
“When they first jumped on board we spoke to him and told him he should jump on it now because it was such a good game.”
“Once he got up there to visit and saw how crazy basketball was, he was blown away.”
“It suited perfectly.”
Also be sure to check out this interview with Dunning after the big news:
For more on Arkansas basketball recruiting, see this: