Alabama football cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold have not yet joined the Tide’s basketball team, and there is not a timetable for that to happen.
McKinstry and Arnold, both freshmen, both planned to play two sports when they enrolled at Alabama last year. McKinstry played basketball at Pinson Valley High School, while Arnold played at John Paul II Catholic High School in Tallahassee.
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“We have not seen Terrion or Kool-Aid,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said Friday. “Obviously that’s a long football season and their bodies need a little time to recover. I did talk to [assistant] Coach [Bryan] Hodgson about it, and I think they’ve reached out to him.
“I don’t have an anticipated start time or if the plan is for them to still come in or not.”
Oats said when McKinstry signed his letter of intent in December 2020 that he would have a spot on the basketball team. McKinstry later practiced with the basketball team last season before football spring practice began in March.
McKinstry, a five-star football recruit, emerged as a starter for Alabama’s football team late in the season after injuries to Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis, while Arnold saw limited playing time on special teams.
Arnold, a four-star recruit in the 2020 football class ranked No. 51 nationally by 247 Sports, said during his recruitment process that he wanted to continue playing basketball in college.
“Like I said before, it’s really hard here, just football going so late,” Oats said. “It seems like they’re playing until the middle of January every year here. By that time we’ve played over half of our schedule at this point.
“I’d love to get some toughness and defense. Our defense has been an issue. Both of those guys are big-time athletes that can probably guard a little bit. But we’re not anticipating them at any point here real soon.”
Oats did say Friday that forward James Rojas is close to returning from knee surgery last summer.
“Rojas is getting closer,” he said. “He’s been able to do some live stuff in the half court in practice. Talked to the trainer after practice today. Clarke [Holter] said we’ll dress him out -- maybe looking at, possibly, at LSU next week. He’s going through warmups and everything right now as if he’s going to play.
“It should be within a week with Rojas. I thought he looked pretty good today in practice. Probably try to get him to the next stage, get him doing everything live in practice, full court up and down. But he looked good in the half court -- guarding, bring some toughness. Passed the ball well. He’s on the scout team when we guard their stuff in the half court. He looked good.”
And guard Nimari Burnett, a transfer last offseason from Texas Tech who had season-ending knee surgery in September, is progressing in his rehab. The former McDonald’s All-American posted a video Wednesday of him shooting in the practice gym.
“Clarke says that he’s ahead of schedule,” Oats said. “He’s doing unbelievable. He’s a kid that works really hard, takes his game very seriously. He’s very professional about everything. He’s coming along really well. I don’t know the video you’re referring to -- I took all social media off my phone, so I don’t really see much during the season -- but my guess would be he’s making a lot of shots on the video. I don’t know. Otherwise they probably don’t put the video out. My guess would be he’s making them because he made shots too, before he got injured.”
Oats said Burnett was shooting 60 percent on three-pointers in live practices before he was injured before this season.
“It would have been great to have him this year,” Oats said. “We certainly could have used his shooting. We’ve struggled to shoot the ball at various times this year and he’s one of the best shooters we have on the team. I anticipate him being one of the best shooters we have next year -- one of the better shooters in the country, to be honest with you. He’s got a pretty high IQ. He’s really locked into what the team is doing this year, even though he’s been out. He’s been a great teammate, makes comment in video, talks to the guys when they’re out of the game. I think he’s showing some leadership qualities.
“We’re excited he’s in the program. Wish he could have played this year. It’s unfortunate he can’t. But his rehab is coming along fine and I think he’ll be 100 percent by the time the season starts next year.
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter i">>@mikerodak.
Source : https://www.al.com/alabamabasketball/2022/01/nate-oats-updates-status-of-kool-aid-mckinstry-james-rojas-and-nimari-burnett.html1104