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Center with offer from UB will play for Nate Oats … at Alabama

Raymond Hawkins will play for Nate Oats ... at Alabama.

Hawkins, a three-star center from prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada, announced his decision Saturday night.

Hawkins, who is 6-9, had the University at Buffalo among his five finalists until Oats left the school Wednesday. Hawkins had a scholarship offer from Alabama by Wednesday night, hours after Oats was hired.

The prevailing theory is that Hawkins would have committed to UB had Oats remained the coach.

"I chose them because of Oats and (Bryan) Hodgson," Hawkins said, via Rivals.com . "They both made me and my family feel comfortable. I'm ready to make a name for myself, and build a brand, and represent the school."

Hodgson remains a candidate for the UB head coaching job, but has an offer in place at Alabama should UB hire someone else.

Hawkins never visited the Alabama campus, but he, his mother and step-brother were at UB for the final home regular season game March 8 and got to spend time with the coaches.

Hawkins, who becomes Oats' first commit with the Tide, also was considering Arkansas, Arizona State, DePaul and Mississippi State.

“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, via 247Sports . "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. ... I believe in myself, but you play better when your coach believes in you and gives you that type of confidence.”

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Story topics: Bryan Hodgson / Nate Oats / University at Alabama