Alabama basketball star Mark Sears declares for NBA draft

The Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team will have four players entering the 2023 NBA draft, as sophomore guard Mark Sears announced his decision on Monday via social media.

Sears, who averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season, joins juniors Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis and Charles Bediako in declaring for the draft. All four players have signed with agents, meaning they will forfeit their remaining college eligibility.

Sears posted a heartfelt message on Twitter, thanking his coaches, teammates and fans for their support during his two years at Alabama. He also expressed his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.

“I have always dreamed of playing at the highest level of basketball and competing against the best in the world,” Sears wrote. “After consulting with my family and coaches, I have decided to enter the 2023 NBA draft and hire an agent. This is a huge step for me and I am ready to embrace the challenge and work hard to achieve my goals.”

Sears was a key contributor for the Crimson Tide, who won the SEC regular season and tournament titles and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. He was named to the All-SEC second team and the SEC All-Tournament team.

Sears is projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick in the draft, according to various mock drafts. He is known for his speed, playmaking ability and defensive intensity. He also improved his shooting this season, making 38.9 percent of his three-point attempts.

Alabama coach Nate Oats praised Sears for his improvement and impact on the program.

“Mark has been a tremendous leader and competitor for us,” Oats said in a statement. “He has improved so much in his two years here and has shown that he belongs at the next level. He has a bright future ahead of him and we wish him nothing but the best.”

The NBA draft will take place on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Final Thoughts: Alabama Basketball Loses Key Players to NBA Draft

The announcement of Mark Sears declaring for the 2023 NBA draft adds to the already significant loss of talent for the Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team. With four players leaving the program early, including three juniors and one sophomore, the team will have to rebuild and fill the gaps left by these departures.

Sears’ decision comes after an impressive sophomore campaign, where he emerged as a standout player for the Crimson Tide. His leadership, playmaking ability, and defensive intensity will undoubtedly be missed by Alabama, who will need to find a way to replace his production next season.

While Sears is projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick in the draft, his departure raises questions about the sustainability of Alabama’s recent success.

The Crimson Tide won the SEC regular season and tournament titles and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. The loss of Sears, along with the other departing players, will make it challenging for Alabama to maintain that level of success next season.

However, the Crimson Tide have proven that they can develop players and find success even in the face of adversity. Head coach Nate Oats has built a strong culture and a winning mentality within the program, which should give fans hope for the future.

Overall, the news of Sears declaring for the NBA draft is bittersweet for Alabama basketball. While it’s a significant loss for the program, it’s also a testament to the success and talent of the team.

Fans will undoubtedly be rooting for Sears and the other departing players as they pursue their dreams in the NBA, while also looking forward to the future of Alabama basketball.