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Alabama Basketball Newcomer Analysis: Aiden Sherrell

We’re in part six of an eight-part series where BamaCentral’s Blake Byler breaks down the numbers and the film to tell you everything you need to know about Alabama basketball’s new names for the 2024-25 season.

While he may not be the highest-rated player among Alabama basketball’s No. 2 2024 recruits, Aiden Sherrell may be one of the most seamless fits Nate Oats has ever added to his system.

A five-star center from Detroit, Michigan, Sherrell has a unique combination of height, length, versatility and shooting ability that makes him one of the highest-potential players on Alabama’s roster.

Sherrell played high school basketball last season at Prolific Prep in California, where he was teammates with five-star freshman Derrion Reid. Like Reid, Sherrell was named a McDonald’s All-American as one of the top players in the 2024 high school class.

According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Sherrell is ranked No. 23 overall in the class of 2024. 247 also ranks him as the No. 6 high school prospect to commit to Alabama and the most promising player in Alabama history among those 6’8″ or taller.

Sherrell has excellent height at 6 feet 10 inches and has long, broad arms to match his height. Players of his build are usually skinny, but Sherrell has a muscular build and has bulked up to 240 pounds since joining the Crimson Tide at the beginning of the summer.

He is an explosive and fluid athlete for his size. He has good leaping ability, can play above the rim on both ends of the floor and can run the floor with ease.

But what really sets Sherrell apart is his shooting ability. He has an incredibly fluid outside shot that allows him to stretch the floor and get opposing big men to the 3-point line, and they should see him as a threat from deep. During the 2023 EYBL season, Sherrell is averaging over 44 percent on three-pointers while scoring 13.5 points and grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game.

To see what kind of impact Sherrell could make at Alabama in his freshman year, let’s take a look at some film from his matches against other high school talent during his final season in the EYBL.

Sherrell’s shot is perhaps the most unique part of his offensive play. In the first clip, he follows the ball carrier and positions himself for a pinpoint shot at the top of the arc. There’s no defense facing him, so you can see the good rhythm and mechanics of his shot.

In the second clip, Sherrell comes from under the basket and runs off a screen to the right corner. Despite being outpaced by his size, he is able to re-square himself to the basket for another clean catch and shot.

Sherrell is likely to play at the 5 as a freshman in the Alabama system due to the remaining players in the frontcourt, and his ability to stretch the floor will create great space in 5-down sets where defenses must respect his 3-point shooting.

When you think of the ideal Nate Oats big man, you think of someone who can stretch the floor on offense, and Sherrell could do just that. Now, there’s no guarantee he’ll be a 40% three-point shooter his freshman year in college, but if he can shoot in the high 30s, it would help create a lot of space for guards to get into the lane and score at the rim.

In addition to his 3-point shooting prowess, Sherrell is an effective scorer on the court, both in rebounds and in pick-and-rolls.

In both clips above, Sherrell sets a screen and rolls into the middle of the lane. In both cases, he is able to finish inside for a two-count, but in different ways.

The first clip shows his touch around the basket as he collects the pass and goes up for a layup even as multiple defenders collapse around him. The second clip shows a much louder finish where he leaps into the air with two feet to dunk over a weak-side defender.

Sherrell is also a lob threat with excellent athleticism above the basket for his size and soft hands that catch everything thrown to him. His soft touch around the basket combined with layups and hooks makes him a dangerous interior scorer, and if he adapts to the physicality of SEC basketball down low, he should be able to score effectively off dump-offs and lobs from Alabama guards.

Finally on offense, Alabama bigs need to be able to run the field because of the tempo the Crimson Tide likes to play in. If the big men run the field correctly in transition, they can be good for 4-6 points per game just running the field.

In the first clip, Sherrell comes up to the block and is given a difficult pass, but once again he shows off his soft hands and gets the pass down with traffic around him. After recovering, he dodges contact and manages to dunk over multiple defenders.

In the second clip, he makes a more delayed rim run in transition, once again showcasing his ability to leap over the defender with a high dunk after receiving the pass.

Sherrell has the athleticism and fluidity to run the floor as a basket rusher, but he is also skilled enough to force the break as a ball carrier when the situation calls for it. His versatility on the offensive end of the floor is what makes him such a unique candidate and will be utilized in a variety of ways in Tuscaloosa.

Sherrell also has all the tools to be a great interior defender, but like many young prospects, he needs polishing. His length and reach are evident in the clip above, as he comes from the weak side and sends back a high-arcing shot.

The biggest gain for Alabama and Sherrell is that Sherrell will be relieved of most of his defensive responsibilities with the addition of All-Big Ten shot-blocker Cliff Omoruyi via the transfer portal.

It’s not ideal for any team to rely on freshmen to do the bulk of their interior defense, and with Omoruyi’s presence, Sherrell will be able to adapt and develop at his own pace in high-level college basketball while taking on a reserve role and providing an offensive spark from the center position when he’s in the game.

With Omoruyi and Grant Nelson, both fifth-year seniors, on the roster as likely frontcourt starters, it seems unlikely that Sherrell will start as a freshman. But that doesn’t mean he can’t make a big impact with the minutes he gets, and with his versatility and potential, he could be one of the best bigs in the SEC in his second year.

Check out BamaCentral’s previous new arrivals analysis: