Candidate #1: Nate Oats from Buffalo

Here’s Candidate #1 to be the Next Head Coach at Georgia – Nate Oats

There will be more “Don’t Hire” articles to come, but here is a stand-up young coach with a bright future who would help Georgia Basketball move forward.  It’s about creating excitement and Nate Oats can absolutely do it.  Some may be asking,”Why isn’t Bobby or Danny Hurley mentioned yet?”  In Danny Hurley’s case, there’s a temptation to return to Seton Hall and Bobby Hurley’s case, he’s still in a contract with Arizona State.  Plucking Nate Oats out of Buffalo would not only help Georgia, but it would remove a very good and familiar option away from Auburn when the inevitable happens.

Like Offense and Fast-Paced Play?

You do?  Get out!  Nate Oats delivers much like his mentor, Bobby Hurley.

Buffalo has a potent offense, an average defense and a pace of play that will make everyone very pleased that they sat through traffic to get to Stegeman Coliseum.  That’s 16.36 seconds per possession.  The status quo is 18.69 seconds per possession.

Buffalo is literally cramming 9 possessions more in a game and scoring at a better offensive efficiency than Georgia.

Buffalo’s offense is aggressive and they like to attack the paint to set up perimeter shots.  Secondary Break is also a critical part of this team’s offensive success.  Think they are just fast in metrics?  Count how many times Nate Oats yells the word ‘Go’ in the following mic’d up segment with WIVB.


Buffalo for 10 out of 27 games did not have Wes Clark at Point Guard and they are still among the leaders in Assist-to-Turnover ratio and Assists per Game.  This is a team that was extremely effective at scoring inside the perimeter and is among the top-third in three point shooting percentage.  Even when the three point shots do not fall, the team still find ways to win or maintain competitiveness due to their style of play.

Defensively, Buffalo is an average or above average team when it comes to live ball shots.  However, they do foul a lot and the majority of those games with high foul counts were in non-conference action.  Opponents are not able to get their desired ball movement against Buffalo and the Bulls are adept at forcing turnovers.

Back to the offense, why is Buffalo so effective inside the perimeter?

They get a lot of shots inside the restricted arc (33rd highest in the country).  In fact, they are one of the best teams in the country at avoiding the mid-range altogether (7th best in the country).  Their offense is able to get layups, dunks and three point shots.  It’s a wonder how with their ability to score off the dribble drive that they do not get more calls.  This team knows how to get it done with shot selection and they are a MAC team.

29.5% of their shots are taken in transition, which is 10th highest in the country.  They are 50th in the country in effective Field Goal percentage.  This is a rather fast and efficient offense given the talent level on the team.  They are not afraid to play fast against so-called “more athletic” teams.

Before Wes Clark:  6-3 against Division I opposition.

After Wes Clark:  13-4 against Division I opposition.

Nate Oats Brought These Guys In and Developed Them

This is a team loaded with Juniors and Oats filled spots with transfers, JUCO recruits and High School recruits.  Oats had to do what was necessary to compete in a challenging Mid-Major Conference like the MAC.  The MAC is pulling talent from all over, but the focus is mainly in the Rust Belt.  Oats brought in guys who were from all over and he had some pretty cool Assistant Coaches along the way, like former Detroit Piston Lindsey Hunter.

Think Oats does not have connections to the State of Georgia?  You’re wrong!

Oats hired Jamie Quarles, the former Assistant Coach at Augusta University.  Quarles replaced Lindsey Hunter and was going to accept a role on Richie Riley’s staff at Nicholls State, but the opportunity to go to Buffalo provided a much better career trajectory.

Does that look like a team that is comprised of only guys from Upstate New York and Western New York?  Only two from this roster are from the region.  Oats brought in recruits from the Carolinas, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Ohio.  This is a pretty geographically diverse group and Buffalo is poised to win the MAC Regular Season Championship for the first time since Bobby Hurley was in Lego Land.


Recruiting in the 2018 Class is strong for Buffalo, this is a MAC school and they landed Ronaldo Segu from Orlando, Florida and played for Showtime Hoops in AAU action.  He also landed Small Forward Jeenathan Williams from Rochester, New York who attended Prolific Prep in California and played for the Albany City Rocks in AAU action.  According to Future150, he’s one of the Top 100 players in the 2018 Class.

Think Nate Oats cannot recruit?  You’re wrong!

Nate Oats is coaching at a MAC program and he beat out for Jeenathan Williams:

  • Marquette
  • Georgia Tech
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina State
  • Pittsburgh
  • Providence
  • Rhode Island
  • Rutgers
  • Seton Hall
  • Syracuse
  • Temple
  • Virginia
  • Virginia Tech

Rather than play in a power conference, Oats convinced Williams to come on down to Lego Land and dominate the MAC.  The best part was he committed before the FBI investigation was revealed to the public on September 26, 2017.

Oats beat out these power conference programs for Ronaldo Segu:

  • Florida State (how often does Georgia beat out Florida State for talent?)
  • New Mexico
  • USF
  • UCF
  • VCU

Show recruits you can win and they’ll play for you even if you’re in the MAC and are in the Lake Effect Snow Capital of America.

Oats’ Success

The success that Oats experienced in his first season was largely comprised of talent that he retained when he took the lead chair from Bobby Hurley.  Oats was able to get to the NCAA Tournament with almost a completely different roster and the program was ahead of schedule in the rebuild, but the second season is when the pains really kicked in.  However, this season provides Oats the opportunity to leave Buffalo in even better condition than he got it and take it to a level above his predecessor.

On, Oats has carried Buffalo to a projected #12 seed, which is of course a seeding that is known for pulling upsets in the NCAA Tournament.  Buffalo was a #12 seed with Hurley and a #14 seed when Oats took the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2016.

The improvement at Buffalo from his first season is obvious.  Buffalo has won the MAC Eastern Division already this season and has a 1 game lead on Toledo for the MAC Regular Season Championship.  Buffalo defeated Toledo earlier this season to earn a tiebreaker over the Rockets.

Oats joined Bobby Hurley at Buffalo from the very beginning to turn this program into contenders.  He was a High School Coach and Teacher at Romulus High School in Romulus, Michigan.  He probably coached against Yante Maten and Mike Edwards during his time there.

Oats deserves credit for the Buffalo turnaround and a second NCAA Tournament berth along with a MAC Championship will distinguish him as one of the top potential hires in the country.

Oats in Action

Here are two full games of Buffalo at Syracuse from earlier this season (Wes Clark’s debut at Buffalo) and Buffalo at Western Michigan.  Buffalo lost to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome 81-74 and won at Western Michigan 84-74.

What you’ll notice:

  • Buffalo really likes to push tempo and turn rebounds into scoring opportunities.
  • Buffalo pressures passing lanes and works to deny passes on the perimeter.
  • Buffalo is not passive against Syracuse’s famed 2-3 Zone, they are not afraid.
  • Buffalo attacks the rim quite a bit and is confident in their ability to knock down three point shots.
  • Buffalo offers a ton of offensive freedom to their guys.
  • Buffalo may lack size, but they fight on the glass.
  • Buffalo shot cold against Syracuse, but were dominant on the offensive glass.

Oats is a Man-to-Man Defense Coach, but his brand of Man-to-Man is obviously different from Dennis Felton or Mark Fox.  Oats wants to force turnovers and get rebounds, it’s much more aggressive defense that will remind people of Bruce Weber’s pressure Man-to-Man Defense.  This is an offense that has never been seen in Athens and it is uber-aggressive.  With better talent from 1 to 13 in Athens, this could be the most explosive offense to hit the SEC.

Just imagine Teshaun Hightower or Tyree Crump with a green light to attack straight off a rebound.  One of the things that Oats values is versatility and given that most of this Georgia team would be able to attack face-up and take a three point shot when available, it is going to be a challenge for opponents to account for everyone.

No more slow, sluggish possessions.  Just pure explosive offense and aggression on defense.

But he’s not from here?

This is the rallying cry of those who want to settle for less.  Consider the following.

  • Did Frank Martin recruit the Southeast extensively before coming to South Carolina?
  • Did Bruce Pearl recruit the Southeast extensively before coming to Tennessee?
  • Did Dennis Felton recruit Atlanta extensively before coming to Georgia?
  • Did Avery Johnson ever recruit in his career before coming to Alabama?
  • Did Bryce Drew ever recruit the region before coming to Vanderbilt?

They all did not and they did fine in recruiting.  Yes, Dennis Felton was not able to coach very well, but Mike Jones and Desmond Oliver were able to recruit Atlanta very well for a bunch of Yankees.  Speaking of Yankees, where do most of the parents of recruits come from?  Most are transplants!

Recruiting is recruiting regardless of where they are from.  Mark Fox’s failings in recruiting during his first four seasons have nothing to do with his staff, it had to do with serious prejudicial issues coming from those with the power to fire him.  Michael Adams leaving UGA resulted in this program being able to recruit much better, it’s why Fox ended up getting four years after Adams left.  Adams was the anchor holding Fox back initially and Fox’s coaching is why these articles are even being written.  Adams was a cancer to the University of Georgia and the day he finally left was one of the greatest days in the History of UGA.

So do not worry about geographic footprint when it comes to recruiting.

Give Nate Oats a call.  He can sell Lake Effect Snow and the Lego Land Campus to Floridians, Carolinians and Texans.  His offense is fast, dynamic and fun to watch.  His defense is aggressive.  He has achieved success in the MAC.  He helped build Buffalo Basketball.  Make a break with the same old, same old.  Take away a choice from Auburn this offseason and let’s have some fun at Stegeman Coliseum.  With Oats, Tyree Crump may do a back flip after seeing what the offense is like.  Can he do a back flip?

Nate Oats, come on down and maybe bring Jamie Quarles with you.


  1. I’m rooting for Fox to get out of his own way…but agree that there’s a lot to like about Oats. So much to like, that you could definitely argue that he’d be a smarter choice specifically for UGA than either Hurley.

    Similar grain as a Beard or Underwood… that they’re just winners and not necessarily an assistant coach riding the coattails of another with hope that they’ve retained all of the good info from their mentor. Such as any Duke coach not named Brey. I will concede though that I like Wojo’s eye for talent.

  2. Yes!! Why not? This team in that system, hurry up McGarity! Remember Richt, treat Fox the same! Recruits will come once they see system fits players and UGA a top 25 team.

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