After Mark Sears NBA decision, Nate Oats has an Alabama Basketball roster dilemma

Mark Sears made a smart decision on Wednesday. Leaving his future options open complicates the Alabama Basketball roster rebuild process for Nate Oats.
Cheryl Evans-Arizona Republic

As was widely anticipated, Mark Sears announced Wednesday that he will make himself eligible for the NBA Draft. Alabama Basketball's all-time leading, season scorer will also retain the option to return to Tuscaloosa for another college season.

Sears made a smart decision. There is no guarantee he will be drafted. On most NBA Draft mocks he is projected from late second-round to undrafted. Sears will receive detailed feedback from NBA teams in the coming weeks.

The NBA Draft process and schedule that applies to Mark Sears and Grant Nelson is explained below.

"The NBA Combine is May 5-12. Early-entry NBA prospects have until June 16, to withdraw from the Draft in favor of another college season. In addition, undrafted players who participated in the NBA Combine can return to college, With a 5 PM deadline the Monday after the Draft. The 2024 Draft will take place on June 26th and 27th."

Bama Hammer

Mark Sears, after participating in the NBA Combine, and if he is not drafted can decide to return to college play as late as July 1.

It is difficult to imagine Nate Oats having any choice but to leave roster spots open for Sears and Grant Nelson until they make final decisions. The risk for Nate Oats is filling roster spots in June or after will come from a depleted talent pool.

Last year, in late May, Charles Bediako decided to remain in the 2023 NBA Draft despite no indication he would be drafted. The decision stunned Alabama basketball fans. It could have only been a surprise to Nate Oats as well. The young man was entitled to make a business decision he believed was best for his career. He was not drafted and played just 11, G-League games in the 2023-24 season.

Many Alabama basketball fans believe Bediako's decision prevented the Crimson Tide a real chance to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Nate Oats will do everything in his power to keep the 2024 NBA Draft cycle from being a replication of last year.

Alabama Basketball Roster Implications

It is next to impossible to predict what the Sears announcement will trigger. Will any other guard decide to transfer to Alabama with the probability of playing behind Mark Sears? Another possible result could be that Latrell Wrightsell Jr. might decide to exit. Must the Alabama program earmark a big chunk of NIL funds for a Mark Sears return?

The lack of answers does not suggest that Mark Sears or Nate Oats should be faulted for this situation. Just the opposite, the potential dilemma is a byproduct of the college basketball world's now annual mandate to fundamentally rebuild rosters. Call it business as usual.