One of the biggest highlights of this Alabama Basketball season has been the improved play of Mark Sears. On the season, Mark Sears is averaging 20.0 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 3.9 assists per game, and 1.6 steals per game. Sears' 20 points per game is tied for 26th in the country and has him tied for the most points per game in the Southeastern Conference.
Despite these impressive marks, Sears was left off of the finalist lists for the Bob Cousy Award and the Jerry West Award, given respectively to the nation's best point guard and best shooting guard. When Sears was initially left off of the Cousy Award Finalist list, it was assumed that it meant he was classified as a shooting guard. However, he was ultimately snubbed on both lists.
The snub is puzzling, as Sears has performed as well as, if not better than, nearly every point guard on the list. Sears' 20.0 points per game is higher than every player named a finalist outside of Wade Taylor IV who's tied with Sears at 20.0 points per game. In terms of rebounds, Sears has nearly everyone beat with Tristen Newton and Tyler Kolek out-rebounding Sears and Jamal Shead tying Sears. Assists is the argument that can be made against Sears as he only edges out Wade Taylor IV. The last mark is steals where Sears edges out four players and the remaining six players are within half a steal per game.
Leaving Sears off of the list makes little to no sense when taking every player's stats into consideration. Mark Sears has played at the level of an All-American this season in one of the tougher leagues in the country. If assist numbers are the biggest statistic that dings Sears' candidacy, then the question becomes this: Are the 4-6 points you'd get from two additional assists per game more valuable than the 7+ points by which Sears outscores over half the list?
Alabama Basketball: Keep overlooking the Crimson Tide
Nate Oats addressed his team being overrated following Saturday's win over LSU, mentioning he'd rather be left off the Top-25 lists from non-committee members so his team played harder. The message he can now send to Mark Sears is clear; show the country you're the best regardless of what an awards committee thinks.
The Alabama Basketball team will need Sears to continue to play at a high level to reach the team's goals of an SEC Championship, SEC Tournament Championship, and an NCAA tournament Championship. Now, thanks to two awards committees snubbing Mark Sears, the team has some extra motivation in the form of rat poision.
Note: Stats via ESPN