Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 5 NBA Draft Combine invites who should return for 2024-25 season

SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round
SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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G Mark Sears - Alabama Crimson Tide

The draft projections are all over the place for Mark Sears. At the moment, it feels like he might be going at the end of the first round or beginning second round, though there's still plenty of time for things to shake things out.

So why would Sears go back to school if he could be a first-round pick? Unlike the other players mentioned, his situation at the collegiate level is presumably figured out: if he goes back to college, he's going to end up back with the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

Nate Oats has been a man possessed this offseason, retaining or adding talent left and right. Fresh off the program's first Final Four appearance - which Sears played a big part in securing - there's a decent chance Alabama could make it back-to-back trips, perhaps beyond.

Last year, Sears averaged 21.5 points per game, good for 14th in the nation, hitting 43.6 percent of his threes. He also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The return of the Muscle Shoals native would be massive for Alabama.

One factor affecting Sears' draft stock is his height. At the combine, he measured comfortably below six feet. Other short players have been able to make a career in the league, but it's unquestionably harder for those below the threshold.

What wouldn't be hard for Sears is to run it back one last time at Alabama and carry the Crimson Tide to a historic season.