Alabama’s frontcourt was delivered a serious blow earlier this week as ESPN reported that Charles Bediako is set to remain in the NBA draft.
The 21-year-old Canadian product is coming off an impressive showing at the NBA’s G-League Elite Camp in Chicago, where he measured in at 6-foot-10 without shoes and a 7-foot-2 ¼ wingspan. Bediako also recorded the third-highest standing reach (9-foot-3 ½) among the 144 participants in the G-League or NBA combine.
The sophomore center started all 37 games for Alabama last season, averaging 6.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game.
Bediako was one of four high-major underclassmen to record 40 dunks and a seven percent block rate, making him an intriguing low-cost, rim-running defensive ace for NBA teams in the mid-to-late second round.
Now, Alabama will have to look for his replacement, given 6-foot-9 senior center Nick Pringle is the only true big man on the roster at the moment.
Though the transfer portal has closed for non-graduate transfers, the options aren’t all bleak for head coach Nate Oats and company.
Even with June just a week away, there are a number of intriguing prospects for Alabama in the transfer portal.
First, meet Kansas transfer Ernest Udeh, a former Top 35 recruit and McDonald’s All-American in the 2022 recruiting class.
Udeh is a physical specimen at 6-foot-11, 250 pounds with impressive explosiveness as a lob threat. He likely doesn’t offer a ton of defensive versatility in space but provides a lot of value in drop coverage, similar to Bediako in his two seasons at the Capstone.
Alabama was among the final ten schools for Udeh out of high school, but no word is made on the Crimson Tide’s current involvement.
Next, there’s San Jose State center Ibrahima Diallo, a 7-footer with two years of eligibility remaining.
Diallo averaged 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 17.3 minutes per game as the full-time starting center for the Spartans. He also recorded a 10.7% block rate – the eighth-best mark in the nation last season, per Barrtorvik.com.
Another option is UNLV graduate transfer David Muoka, an effective rim-running big man with fluid mobility and the ability to trap the box (A technique in which the weak-side help defender rotates to the strong-side block to defend a slot, wing, or corner drive) on defense.
The 6-foot-10 center has recorded an 8 percent block rate in each of his four collegiate seasons – two at UNLV, and two at Lamar.
Looking for upside at the center position? Washington State transfer Adrame Diongue may be the guy.
Diongue, a lengthy 6-foot-11, 190-pound center, was the No. 65 ranked recruit in the 2022 high school recruiting class, according to the Recruiting Service Consensus Index’s aggregated ranking system.
He has shown the ability to defend in a variety of pick-and-roll coverages, in addition to an expanding offensive game.
Last season, Diongue averaged 1.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in 6.3 minutes per game behind projected NBA draft pick Mouhamed Gueye.
Alabama was among the 12 schools to reach out to Diongue, according to a report from Cerebro Sports’ Andrew Slater on Wednesday.