A day of roster reckoning for Alabama Crimson Tide Hoops

Sometime Wednesday, Alabama Crimson Tide fans will learn if Bama will have college basketball's most talented roster for 2024-25.
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

Early-entry college basketball players have until 11:59 PM on May 29 to withdraw from the 2024 NBA Draft and play another college season. Two Alabama Crimson Tide players are on the clock; Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson.

Sears has a final team workout on the 29th, with the Milwaukee Bucks. After getting feedback from Milwaukee, Sears will have only a few hours to make up his mind. Most mock drafts have Sears drafted in the second round. Very few mocks have him projected high enough in the second round to obtain a guaranteed contract. Such a draft result would lead to less NBA money than Sears can make through NIL from another Alabama Crimson Tide season.

Alabama basketball insiders are somewhat confident Sears will return for a final Alabama season. Not an Alabama insider but someone with college basketball connections, Kevin Sweeney discussed the Sears situation, "Highly consequential decision either way... with him, Alabama might be preseason No. 1. Didn't have a great combine, measured under 5'10.25 without shoes, missed a scrimmage with an injury. Not sure he can get more than a two-way. Prob *should* go back."

For non-NBA fans, a two-way contract is not guaranteed, with those who sign typically beginning in the G League and maybe also playing in a few NBA games. A 'two-way' contract is probably the ceiling for Jarin Stevenson. Almost no mocks project Stevenson to be drafted. But it is not that simple. Outside of lottery players, the NBA often drafts on potential. Jarin Stevenson has massive potential. Mark Sears may become an NBA success, but if just measuring potential, Stevenson is ahead of Sears.

Kevin Sweeney also discussed Stevenson, "A lot more 50-50 than I think a lot of people believed when he first tested. Bama has the depth to withstand it if he does stay in."

Alabama Crimson Tide Roster Depth

Crimson Tide fans can celebrate Sweeney's optimism about depth, but losing Stevenson to the NBA would be a major loss. Losing Mark Sears will also be a big loss, but Nate Oats has built depth at the guard position that includes experienced players. The Crimson Tide has less experienced depth in its frontcourt players.

A latest, preseason ranking has the Crimson Tide at No. 1. Without Sears and Stevenson, that ranking will slide, But Alabama would still have one of college basketball's best rosters.