Alabama Basketball: Is Grant Nelson back in the fold?

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Along with All-American guard Mark Sears, forward Grant Nelson is one of the last major puzzle pieces for the 2024-25 Alabama Basketball team. 

Nelson showed lots of improvement in his first season with the Tide, and his return would be a huge boost for next year’s team. If Nelson were going to enter the NBA Draft, he would have had to file the paperwork to do so by last night (Saturday, April 27th). As a result, Bama fans were anticipating an announcement regarding his decision on Saturday, but it never came

Does this mean Grant Nelson is back?

Not necessarily, but it is more likely an indication of good news than bad news. Nelson’s final decision will very likely be revealed within the next couple days. The fact that he presumably took his choice to the deadline could mean that this was a very tough decision for Nelson.

Alternatively, it could simply be that he prefers privacy. Some players who choose to return to college never even make a formal announcement, they just quietly come back. Grant Nelson could very well take that route. 

Nelson started every game for Alabama this past season, and would bring valuable experience back to a team that will once again be loaded with newcomers. After averaging 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks for the Crimson Tide in 2023-24, he would have the opportunity to take his game to the next level and impress NBA scouts.

Nelson has NBA athleticism and mobility at 6’11”, but getting a little bit stronger and improving on his 27.3 percentage from the three-point line would greatly increase his pro prospects. 

In the modern NBA, there is an emphasis across the board on perimeter shooting. Particularly at the four position, which Nelson projects to play at the next level, players are required to be able to stretch the floor and provide spacing. Alabama’s offense gives Nelson a great opportunity to practice that skill, so he would be well-served to return to Tuscaloosa and spend an offseason getting up shots.

Be on the lookout for more updates on a possible Grant Nelson return, which should come soon. If he does come back, it would give what is already a talented roster a proven frontcourt weapon. Perhaps it would even influence Mark Sears' impending decision.