Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Estrada, Sears talk chemistry and leadership at SEC Tipoff

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama Guard Mark Sears speaks to media during SEC Men’s Basketball Tip Off ’24 Media Day in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Media members from around the country gathered in Birmingham on Wednesday for the annual SEC Basketball Tipoff. Players and coaches from around the SEC appeared at the luxurious Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook, Alabama, to share their thoughts and feelings around the upcoming season. 

Among those in attendance were Alabama guards Aaron Estrada and Mark Sears, as well as their head coach, Nate Oats.  

Estrada, who transferred from Hofstra during the offseason, is playing in his first season with the Crimson Tide but his fifth season in college basketball. Even though he is new to this program, he said he is looking to use his experience to be a leader among some of the younger talent on the team.  

“I know I’m going to be able to help these younger guys out,” he said. “That’s really what I want to do.”  

He also spoke about what exactly attracted him to the Crimson Tide after entering the transfer portal, saying that in addition to Oats being the first coach to reach out to him, it was ultimately the culture that influenced him the most. 

“They’re winners,” he said. “Through all the adversity they had [last season], they continued to perform and win at a high level.” 

Estrada and Sears will form the new-look backcourt this season, and it appears that the chemistry between the two is already flourishing, with both saying that they have already developed a strong relationship. 

“As soon as I got here, [Sears] took me in,” Estrada said. “I feel like we’ve been jelling really well, and I think that everybody is going to see that pretty soon.”  

“We’re constantly over at each other’s houses, hanging out with each other, playing 2K,” Sears said, referring to his new teammate. “We have a great chemistry on and off the court.”  

Sears also described Estrada as a “blue-collar type of player” who brings a lot to the team, both offensively and defensively. 

The blue-collar mentality is a huge part of the culture that Oats has worked hard to establish during his time at Alabama, and Sears says that the team is carrying the same mindset heading into this season. 

“That means max effort, continuous growth, and selfless love,” Sears said. “Once you put all that together, it really describes the way we play.”  

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