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Raymond Hawkins becomes first commit of Oats era

2019 center Raymond Hawkins verbally committed to Alabama on Sunday becoming the first pledge of the Nate Oats era.

“I’m going to the University of Alabama,” Hawkins told 247Sports. “A few weeks ago my mom, my brother and my step brother all visited coach [Nate] Oats and coach [Bryan] Hodgson at Buffalo. The culture between the players and coaches was unbelievable. The relationship just made me comfortable. I felt like I can trust them.”

Hawkins, a standout at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, visited Buffalo the weekend of March 8 and scheduled a decision date for March 30. Once Oats made the move to Alabama earlier this week, instead of pushing back his decision he opted to follow him.

“When I found out they were going to Alabama, he called me and said I was the first person he called and let me know that he wanted to bring me with him,” Hawkins said. "I told him I talked to my family and he called them as well.”

“It showed how much he actually wanted me and how much interest he has and how much he believes in me.” He added. “I believe in myself, but you play better when your coach believes in you and gives you that type of confidence.”

Hawkins garnered interest a number of other high major schools, including the old Arkansas staff, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, DePaul and most recently Tennessee.

“Coach Oats’ style of coaching is exactly what I’m looking for,” Hawkins said. “He has my best interest at heart, I believe.”

“His honesty,” he added. “He’s straight to the point with everything even with the team shootaround. He’s just straight to it. That’s the type of guy I am.”

A native of California, Hawkins is ranked No. 175 overall in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, but No. 88 and a four-star recruit in the Top247.

"Hawkins is a physical post with pretty good size, long arms, plus athleticism and a high motor," 247Sports analyst Josh Gershon said. "He has made significant strides to his conditioning and skill set over the last year. The fact Hawkins enters college playing the best basketball of his career is a promising sign for him reaching his ultimate upside."

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