Jarin Stevenson explains decision to join Alabama and reclassify

The 6-foot-10 power forward is also reclassifying and will join the Crimson Tide for the upcoming season.


PITTSBORO — Last week, local boys basketball standout Jarin Stevenson announced his commitment to the University of Alabama, and his decision to leave Seaforth early and join the Crimson Tide ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Stevenson, who is headed to Tuscaloosa to enroll this week, chatted with the News & Record after his announcement to detail why exactly he chose the Crimson Tide over UNC, Virginia and several other schools. He said head coach Nate Oats’ program was not only the best decision for his immediate future, but also the one that sets him up best for his aspirations beyond college.

"First off, all the schools are great schools and had great communities,” Stevenson said. “But what set Alabama apart is the NBA offense they run and the open spots they have available where I can earn myself an opportunity to play and have an impact as a freshman."

The 6-foot-10 forward, who was recently ranked No. 40 overall in the Class of 2023 by 247Sports’ composite ranking, is the Crimson Tide’s highest-rated commit in the Class. Other freshmen set to join the team for the upcoming season are No. 58 Sam Walters (6-foot-8 forward), No. 98 Kris Parker (6-foot-6 forward) and No. 110 Mouhamed Dioubate (6-foot-7 forward).

Stevenson told the News & Record that Alabama’s coaches expect him to fill the role Noah Clowney held in the offense last season. Clowney, a fellow 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 9.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in 36 games for the Crimson Tide in 22-23, earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors along the way.

Last Thursday, Clowney — who was ranked No. 79 overall in the Class of 2022 by 247’s Composite rankings — was selected No. 21 overall by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2023 NBA Draft. Stevenson hopes he can make a similar jump over the next year and put himself in place to join the pro ranks next June.

"That's ideally what I would like, but ultimately it's going to happen when the time is right,” Stevenson said. “I need to put in a lot of work and continue to get better. I feel like Alabama has the coaches and the resources to help me get there. They've proved it with Clowney and different prospects. I should be ready after Year 1, but if that doesn't happen, whenever the time is right."

At 6-foot-10 with a solid handle and some shooting touch, Stevenson is the ideal type of forward for today’s NBA, but there is still plenty he needs to work on with his game to improve his stock over the next year. He shot an O.K. percentage from 3-point range with Seaforth last season (25-of-74, 33.7%), but he’ll likely need to bump that up above 35 or 40% to really catch the eye of scouts.

Another thing he’ll need to do is add weight to his frame. At 200 pounds flat, Stevenson could probably stand to gain 30 or 40 pounds to build a more desirable frame for NBA teams. Right now, the only NBA players who stand 6-foot-10 or higher and weigh 230 pounds or less are Miami’s Nikola Jovic (205), Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton (215), Cleveland’s Evan Mobley (215), Memphis’ Santi Aldama (215) and Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. (218).

Luckily for Stevenson, Alabama has state of the art athletic facilities thanks to the success of its football program, and the men’s basketball team has a solid strength and conditioning coach in Henry Barrera, whose previous stops included time as a performance training specialist at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Stevenson said he’s excited at the chance to put on more weight over the coming months.

“I'm excited to see the cuts and rips I'm going to get,” he said. “Alabama is a football school, but that doesn't mean they're just going to put on football weight. They mentioned that they're going to put us in basketball shape and help us put on smart weight. That way I'm still agile and quick on the floor but, at the same time, I'm getting stronger."

While the decision to leave high school a year early was tough for Stevenson, he is grateful for the opportunity he was given to help start Seaforth’s boys basketball program. Stevenson played his freshman year at Northwood before moving across town to his new school, and he leaves the Hawks as their all-time leading scorer with 1,011 points in just two seasons.

This past winter, Stevenson earned Gatorade North Carolina Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year honors after averaging 21.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game and shooting 60.1% of his shots from the field. The Hawks will have a hard time replacing that kind of production, but Stevenson likes the direction the program is heading.

"It was nice, going to a new school and creating a foundation, Stevenson said. “Seaforth is a great school. We have a great team, and I'm excited for their future. I had a good time playing with them."

sports, nchsaa, jarin stevenson, recruiting, alabama, unc, virginia, men's basketball, seaforth