Alabama basketball adds 4-star guard Labaron Philon

Four-star point guard Labaron Philon announced his commitment to Alabama via social media on Sunday. A Mobile, Ala. native, Philon played three seasons at Baker High where he won Mr. Basketball in 2023 and was a two-time Class 7A Player of the Year, recording 2,334 career points.

He spent his senior year at elite prep school Link Academy (Mo.) where he led the program to a top-10 national ranking and a semifinal appearance at the Chipotle Nationals. On the EYBL scholastic circuit, the premier AAU national tournament, Philon averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 assists in 12 games playing for Team Thad, formed by NBA player Thaddeus Young.

Philon, the No. 33 player nationally and the No. 3 point guard according to 247Sports, was previously committed to Kansas but asked out of his letter of intent five days ago following several transfer portal additions to the Jayhawks roster, including former Alabama player Rylan Griffen. Philon, who was committed to Auburn before Kansas, immediately became a priority for coach Nate Oats and staff and completed a visit on Saturday.

Now Philon joins a revamped backcourt in Tuscaloosa with new additions Aden Holloway (Auburn), Houston Mallette (Pepperdine), Chris Youngblood (South Florida), returner Latrell Wrightsell Jr. and potentially Mark Sears, who has until May 29 to decide whether to stay in the NBA Draft or return to school.

Philon’s commitment puts Alabama at 12 scholarship players. The Athletic can confirm that priority target Clifford Omoruyi, a center from Rutgers, began his official visit to Alabama on Sunday morning. As it stands, Alabama has the No. 2 recruiting class nationally, according to 247Sports, the highest spot in the Oats era.

What does this mean for Alabama?

Philon, at 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, is a dynamic guard who specializes in attacking downhill and finishing in the paint. During his first three seasons of high school, including averaging 35 points per game as a junior at Baker, Philon was a marginal 3-point shooter but shot 44 percent on the EYBL circuit last summer — signaling a higher ceiling in that area. Under Oats, Philon will be able to play in transition and attack the paint, a staple of Alabama’s scheme, while continuing to develop as a shooter.

Philon’s size will also be an asset on the defensive end, where Alabama has struggled. He’ll need to add to his frame, but his long arms and wide shoulders are a different body type to Holloway and Sears, both around 6 feet tall. Philon averaged over two steals per game in high school and paired with his athleticism should be a capable defender against Power 5 guards.

The Sears decision is still looming. In the meantime, Oats bolsters that position with a top-35 prospect in Philon after adding Holloway, a five-star recruit from last season’s cycle. Philon joins Derrion Reid, Aiden Sherrell and Naas Cunningham as top 50 prospects from the 2024 class. There’s a good amount of familiarity between them already, Reid and Sherrell were high school teammates at Prolific Prep (Calif.), and Reid and Philon were EYBL teammates on Team Thad. This elite collection of high school talent is yet another sign that Oats’ system is one of the most attractive in the country, and Alabama now has a Final Four berth to sell as well.

Elsewhere on the roster, there’s the decision of forward Grant Nelson, who hasn’t made a formal announcement about entering the draft or staying at Alabama; the deadline was Saturday at midnight. The official list of draft participants will be released Monday.

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(Photo: Gary Cosby Jr. / USA Today)

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