Mark Sears is back in Alabama: what does it mean for the Crimson Tide?

Alabama fans held their breath throughout the month of May as the deadline approached for the star player to make a decision on his future.

Mark Sears sent Crimson Tide nation into a frenzy Wednesday night by officially announcing he would withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Tuscaloosa for his final year of eligibility. This decision follows the team’s historic first-ever Final Four appearance.

As the team as a whole came together and improved their overall level of play, it was clear that Sears was the catalyst for Alabama’s high-powered offense all season. Sears averaged more than 21.5 points per game, along with four assists, while playing nearly 34 minutes per night – all career highs – leading Alabama to a historic season.

With his return, the team’s prospects for the coming season appear even greater.

For the first time ever, Alabama is among (and possibly at the top of) the preseason favorites to win a college basketball national championship.

It’s been an excellent offseason for Nate Oats and his staff. Landing Sears back was just the icing on the cake.

Although the team lost a few transfers, they did a fantastic job replacing the lost talent and adding pieces that last year’s team did not have.

RELATED: Sears after triumph: ‘Hard work goes undefeated. Give all honor and glory to God’

Adding Chris Youngblood, Houston Mallette and Aden Holloway from the transfer portal at the guard position, along with the returning Latrell Wrightsell Jr. and bringing in freshman LaBaron Philon, the Tide will have one of the deepest backcourts in the country.

The 2023-2024 team struggled with rim protection, so Oats went out and added the best to the portal in Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi, allowing Grant Nelson (who also returns) to return to his natural four position.

Jarin Stevenson, who also entered the draft pool, announced on Wednesday evening that he would also return and continue to develop.

Additionally, the team features the nation’s No. 2 incoming high school class, including five-stars Derrion Reid and Aiden Sherrell, as well as four-stars Philon and Naas Cunningham.

Every hole on the roster has been filled, creating what appears to be the deepest team in college basketball heading into the 2024-2025 season. The Alabama Crimson Tide may have their best chance ever to win a national championship.

The Alabama Crimson Tide may have their best chance ever to win a national championship for them.

Michael Brauner is a senior sports analyst and contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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