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

Unfinished business: Sears and Stevenson return to Alabama in search of a national title

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama guard Mark Sears (#1) dribbles down the court against UConn during the Men’s Final Four at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ on April 6, 2024.

Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson have decided to return to Tuscaloosa to pursue a national championship ring after leading Alabama to its first ever Final Four appearance in 2024.

They entered the NBA draft in April while maintaining college eligibility. They also participated in the entire pre-draft process including the combine, team interviews and workouts. Ultimately, the pair made the decision to return to Alabama, likely due to their draft stock not being as high as they would have preferred.

Sears noted that he got good feedback from teams around the NBA, but he also thinks that there is room to improve in his game. 

“NIL has changed basketball and NBA teams told me that age isn’t a factor in today’s game, so I was comfortable coming back to try and bring home a national championship to Alabama,” Sears said

It appeared that the deciding factor for Sears would be whether or not he could get a guaranteed NBA contract. This was something that head coach Nate Oats reiterated at a recent Yea Alabama event.

“If the feedback’s not a guaranteed contract, I think he’d love to come back here and try to win a national championship,” Oats said. “But obviously, his ultimate goal is to play in the NBA.”

Sears was the Crimson Tide’s leading contributor this season and was lauded for his elite play during the NCAA Tournament, leading Alabama all the way to the Final Four. His performance earned him the title of “Most Outstanding Player” for the West Region. 

The return of Stevenson also provides excellent depth for Alabama, giving Oats a lot of versatility when putting together a starting lineup. Although the freshman only averaged 5.3 points per game last year, Stevenson took on an increased role in the postseason, putting together a 19 point performance versus Clemson in the Elite Eight. 

Bringing Sears and Stevenson back is huge for the Crimson Tide as the team looks to secure its first ever national championship. Their familiarity with Oats’ system, proven scoring ability and leadership skills will play a massive role in the success that Alabama has on the court. 

Adding these players back into the fold makes the Crimson Tide one of the favorites to cut down the nets in April, and it is clearly Sears’ goal to deliver.

“I’m very excited about the team we have coming in,” Sears said. “I will have to do a good job of leading these guys in the right direction. I’m confident we can win the national championship.”

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