Alabama head coach Nate Oats spoke highly of Alabama center Nick Pringle during his media availability session early Friday afternoon, citing his mental growth throughout the season.

"I think he has changed a lot. I think sometimes they have to see things from a different perspective," said Oats.

Oats said that when Nick Pringle returned from suspension, one of the first things Pringle told coach Oats was, "I didn't realize what a distraction I was to my teammates."

Oats would continue, stating, "He's always wanted to be there for his teammates, and he has been. He's been a good teammate, but he didn't realize some of the stuff he was doing was a distraction, and he didn't want to be that. [...] Nick's very vocal, has a great personality, and has a natural leadership about him. He just needs to make sure he's leading the right way. [...] I think he's a big part of why we've made this big run in the NCAA tournament."

Oats would praise Alabama team chaplain Scotty Hollins on his work with Pringle.

"Scotty's traveled with us all year, [...] Scotty's been a great mentor to Nick, a great mentor to a lot of our guys. I think Scotty helps Nick stay grounded."

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Pringle has been critical to Alabama's Final Four run, averaging seven points and eight rebounds across four games while defending the likes of North Carolina's Armando Bacot and Clemson's P.J. Hall.

Pringle's most notable performance thus far has been against Clemson in the Elite Eight, where he recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and snagging 11 rebounds to help Alabama advance the program's first-ever Final Four appearance.

Without Pringle's key performances during the tournament, Alabama may have been watching the Final Four at home this weekend.

For more Alabama Basketball content from Simon Besnoy, follow him on X/Twitter at @SimonBesnoy and stay tuned to Tide1009.com for daily news.

Tide 100.9 is on-site in Phoenix for coverage of the NCAA Men's Tournament Final Four. Coverage is sponsored by the Sportsbook at Pearl River Resort. Located at Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, they offer traditional sports betting in which guests can bet on all professional league sports and major collegiate sporting events.

Sights from the Airport as the Tide Head to Phoenix

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

Alabama's Elite Win over North Carolina in the Sweet 16

Gallery Credit: Wyatt Fulton

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