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Alabama star Mark Sears withdraws from NBA Draft, will return for final season after Final Four run

Alabama star Mark Sears withdraws from NBA Draft, will return for final season after Final Four run

After leading Alabama to its first-ever Final Four, Mark Sears is heading back to Tuscaloosa.

Sears withdrew from the NBA Draft ahead of Wednesday's deadline and will return to the Crimson Tide for his final season of eligibility, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

"I got good feedback from the NBA," Sears said. "But I can still get better in a few areas. I want to show I am a dog on defense next season, continue to bring vocal leadership, and work on my body and get into better shape. 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 shined with Alabama last season while leading the Crimson Tide to their best run in program history. He averaged 21.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4 assists last season. He shot nearly 51% from the field and nearly 44% from behind the arc, too. Sears was not listed in either of Krysten Peek’s latest mock drafts for Yahoo Sports.

Sears led Alabama past top-seeded North Carolina and Clemson to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history earlier this spring. The Crimson Tide then fell to UConn, who won a second consecutive title, in the first round in Phoenix.

Sears is one of several key Alabama players who will return next season. Grant Nelson — who came alive in the Sweet 16 to help them knock off the Tar Heels — is returning for another year, and Latrell Wrightsell Jr. will join them. Head coach Nate Oats has landed several key transfer players already, including Rutgers center Cliff Omoruyi, Auburn point guard Aden Holloway and South Florida guard Chris Youngblood, among others. Five-star Rivals.com recruits Aiden Sherrell and Derrion Reid will join Oats’ roster, too.

The team will not only be favorites in the SEC next fall, but a top-10 team nationally that’s absolutely capable of making another deep run in March.

“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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