Transfer center Clifford Omoruyi commits to Alabama: Why he’s a perfect match for Tide

Alabama men’s basketball roster added another transfer portal target Sunday when Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi announced his commitment to On3.

Omoruyi, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound senior, was one of the premier players available in the transfer portal. He was an All-Big Ten selection in 2023 and is a two-time All-Big Ten defensive selection (2023, 2024). During the 2022-23 season, Omoruyi became the first player at Rutgers to lead the team in scoring (13.2), rebounding (9.6) and blocked shots (2.1) since Keith Hughes during the 1990-91 season.

Omoruyi started all 32 games last season, averaging 10.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. His 93 blocks were the most by a Big Ten player in a season since 2018. With one season of eligibility remaining, Omoruyi puts Alabama’s scholarship count at 13 players, including one roster spot that’s being held for senior guard Mark Sears who has a stay-or-go NBA Draft decision to make at the end of the month.

Omoruyi could be Alabama’s missing piece puzzle

Omoruyi’s Rutgers career includes 121 games played with 104 starts, and he’s started every game in the last three seasons. At nearly seven feet tall with a developed frame, Omoruyi is a game-changer on the defensive end. He finished third nationally last year in block percentage at 12.72 percent, per KenPom, and has been a top-five rebounder in the Big Ten in the last two seasons.

Omoruyi’s defense is ahead of his offense but he is a career 55 percent shooter from the field — almost exclusively from inside the paint. He is a career 20 percent shooter from 3-point range and 59 percent from the free-throw line. While he’s not a floor spacing option, Omoruyi is a legitimate double-double in Alabama’s system. Coach Nate Oats’ offense prioritizes looks within five feet of the basket, and Omoruyi has the potential to see a good amount of targets as a lob threat and in transition as a player who runs the floor well for his size.

Omoruyi and the Tide appear to be a perfect match. The program adds an impactful big man who can change the trajectory of its defensive potential, and Omoruyi can hone his offensive game in an NBA-style system to improve his draft stock while chasing a championship.

The idea of an Omoruyi-Grant Nelson frontcourt pairing is exciting for Crimson Tide fans, Nelson can return to a natural power forward position and his defensive ability (1.6 blocks per game last season) create a formidable tandem in the paint. Behind them, sophomores Mouhamed Dioubate and Jarin Stevenson and incoming freshman Aiden Sherrell round out the frontcourt depth.

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Tide’s 2024-25 potential scholarship distribution

Returning guards: Mark Sears*, Latrell Wrightsell Jr.

Incoming guards: Aden Holloway (Auburn), Houston Mallette (Pepperdine), Labaron Philon (4-star recruit), Chris Youngblood (South Florida)

Returning forwards: Grant Nelson, Jarin Stevenson, Mouhamed Dioubate

Incoming forwards: Derrion Reid (4-star recruit), Naas Cunningham (4-star recruit)

Incoming centers: Ugonna Onyenso (Kentucky), Aiden Sherrell (4-star recruit)

*Yet to officially announce return

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(Photo: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)

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