Mark Sears named to Naismith Trophy midseason watch list

Texas A&M v Alabama
Texas A&M v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Mark Sears might just be the best player in the SEC. Just last week, I made the case for Sears, a 6’1” guard from Muscle Shoals, to be the Player of the Year in the conference. He has not slowed down since then, and is beginning to get respect on a national level. 

Sears was recently named to the Naismith Trophy midseason team, a watch list for one of college basketball’s most notable player of the year awards.

In reality, he probably won’t win the award. In most years, a guard his size has to be an overwhelming force just to be in contention for the Naismith Trophy, and Sears has accomplished just that. This season, with Purdue giant Zach Edey once again casting a massive shadow over the sport, I would say that everyone else’s chances to take home the hardware are slim to none. 

Still, it’s incredible what Mark Sears has done this season, and his performance should not be taken for granted.

Mark Sears' impressive progression

The Alabama native initially began his college career at Ohio, where he played two seasons and became one of the best players in the MAC as a sophomore. 

After transferring back home to the University of Alabama, Sears answered the usual questions regarding his ability to translate mid-major success to the SEC. He was a very good player for Alabama as a junior, starting every game and averaging over 12 points per game for one of the best teams in school history. Still, even Mark Sears optimists would’ve had a hard time predicting the leap in production that he would make as a senior. 

So far this season, Sears is dominating the SEC to an even greater degree than he did the MAC in 2021-22. His 20.6 points per game, 1.8 steals per game, and shooting splits (51.6% from the field, 45.1% from three) are all career-highs. He has also been effective as a distributor, rebounder, and defender, growing into one of college basketball’s most complete guards.   

Mark Sears’ story, and his journey to stardom, are absolutely incredible. Once an undersized 3-star recruit with no high-major offers, Sears has become one of the best players in school history at Alabama, and has now inserted himself into National Player of the Year conversations.

Expect Sears to finish the regular season strong and rack up a ton of accolades before leading the Crimson Tide on a postseason run.