Jordan Bruner, one of the top graduate transfers on the market, has committed to Alabama. Bruner, who chose the Tide over the likes of Baylor and Maryland, is coming off a fantastic season with per game averages of 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, just under 2 blocks, and a steal per game. He put up these numbers while helping lead Yale to a 23-7 (11-3) record and Ivy League title. Bruner also shot 32.3% from three this season and has said he believes he is a better shooter than the numbers show. Per KenPom, his DR% was 25.2% which would have been far and away the best on Alabama last season. Herbert Jones and Alex Reese led Alabama in this statistic at 16.8%. He also shot 76.6% from the free throw line this past season at Yale. As stated, he provided solid individual defensive statistics. The most impressive thing about his defensive stats is that he only averaged 1.8 personal fouls per game, meaning that Bruner is providing Alabama a great defender who is capable of playing defense without fouling— a major need for the Tide.
“I’m wired to prove people wrong. A lot of people think Alabama is the worst team out of the 3, but I believe in myself, my new teammates, and Coach Oats’ vision. We’re going to be one of the best teams in the country.”
Bruner tells friend of the site, Tyler DeLuca.
How does this commitment impact Alabama going into next season? Bruner provides Alabama with a forward/center who can space the floor, switch to guard the perimeter, rebound, and most importantly, protect the basket. Some may ask how will his game translate from the Ivy into the SEC? And it’s a fair question, so let’s look at how he performed against two ACC teams this past season. He helped lead Yale to a win at Clemson this year while having 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and two steals. This was actually one of Bruner’s poorer offensive performances of the season, but he managed to make a huge impact on the defensive end while controlling the glass. Let’s also look at his game against North Carolina where he was named the MVP of the game based on KenPom’s algorithms. In this game, he had an offensive rating of 145 and had 17 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 4 blocks and two steals. This is the same North Carolina team whose big men obliterated Alabama in the Bahamas on the glass and allowed nothing on the inside. Bruner put up 15 boards and 4 blocks on Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot while only committing 1 foul. Jordan Bruner is an absolute baller and has aspirations of becoming an NBA player after this season. Alabama will give Bruner the opportunity to showcase his ability to score inside, shoot in a spread out offensive system, and play against high level competition.
One of the more frustrating parts of last season were the defensive struggles, especially when Herb went down. Herb covered up a lot of the defensive flaws the team had, and with no rim protector to cover the rim when Herb’s help is no longer there, it caused major issues. Bruner is going to bring Alabama a versatile defender who can switch off screens to guard the perimeter and can protect the rim when the defense breaks down. Alabama now has another defender who can cover up flaws that may occur on the perimeter. Another frustration was the amount of offensive boards given up overall. Bruner’s defensive rebound rate has already been given above and shows that he can help fix this issue. Nate Oats has said time and time again that he wants players who can dribble, pass and shoot. He is getting a great player who can do all of these things. Bruner is the type of player who can pull down a defensive rebound, take it himself down the court and use his athleticism to get to the rim or use his passing ability to set up open shooters like Jaden Shackelford or Joshua Primo. One of the most important characteristics for a player that fits Nate Oats’ system is that he is a gym rat who genuinely loves the game of basketball and strives to get better each and every day. Jordan Bruner is going to bring this to Alabama and begin to help change the culture. Bruner is who is worried about important things: winning and elevating his game to where he will play in the NBA. Nate Oats and Bryan Hodgson land another great player in Bruner.
For more Alabama hoops coverage, be sure to follow Crimson Crossover on all social media platforms: