Bama Hoops can’t lose with NBA Draft Decisions

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four
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Benefits of Bama's growing NBA presence

While Bama would love to have Sears and Stevenson back, the program still stands to benefit if they go pro. Alabama is already becoming much more notable in the league with Nate Oats at the helm. While Collin Sexton and others helped to pave the way under Avery Johnson, Oats has put NBA players in the league virtually every year since 2020.

Among them, Herb Jones has been a revelation for the New Orleans Pelicans and just finished 5th in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. Brandon Miller, who finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting, might be the most dynamic player Oats has sent to the league yet and is just getting started. 

Sending Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson to the league would continue to build credibility for the Alabama Basketball program. Sears is an Alabama native and a former mid-major transfer. Oats has already excelled at mining smaller schools for talent, and sending an undersized guard from Ohio University to the NBA would continue to build his prestige.

In the same vein, Jarin Stevenson could do wonders for Alabama’s high school recruiting. He is already one of the most impressive prospects Alabama has ever signed as a 5-star from Chapel Hill and a UNC legacy.

If he stays in the draft and gets selected (much less finds success in the NBA), it will provide boundless marketing opportunities for Bama Hoops. In that case, he will have reclassified, come to Tuscaloosa a year early, largely played a reserve role, and still become a one-and-done NBA Draft pick. What more would Coach Oats need to point to when recruiting 5-star high school players going forward? 

The successes of 5-star Brandon Miller and 4-star Noah Clowney, both one-and-done first round picks in the previous draft class, likely helped Alabama to land Jarin Stevenson. Inevitably, the Tide will one day parlay Stevenson's success into the signing of more highly-touted recruits.

The bottom line is that having players test the draft waters is a mark of a healthy and thriving program. Alabama Basketball is clearly on the rise, and the decisions of Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson won’t slow that ascension either way.