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Grant Nelson announces return to Alabama for fifth and final season

Alabama’s big man, Grant Nelson, has announced via social media that he will be using his extra COVID year to return to Tuscaloosa for a fifth and final season.

It was suspected that Nelson would try his hand in the NBA Draft pool, but momentum throughout the last several weeks has trended towards a return.

After his window to enter the draft pool expired on Saturday night, Tide fans eagerly awaited an announcement from Nelson that he would be back, and he finally made things official on Monday afternoon.

During the season, he averaged just under 12 points and six rebounds per game along with 1.6 blocks.

Nelson struggled a bit out of the gate in SEC play with adjusting from mid-major to power five college basketball, but got better as the season went along and produced in some huge moments, especially in the NCAA Tournament.

His best game in an Alabama uniform came when the team needed him most against North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen with 24 points and 12 rebounds including some huge shots down the stretch to seal it.

Though the Tide would lose the game, Nelson would also deliver one of the plays of the season with his dunk in the Final Four over Connecticut’s monster big man, Donovan Clingan:

Nelson is the second senior from the Final Four roster to announce his return, joining Latrell Wrightsell Jr. with a possible Mark Sears return looming as well.

Sears entered the NBA Draft pool while maintaining his eligibility, so he can still elect to return.

The Nelson news comes in the wake of Alabama landing Mobile native Labaron Philon to go along with other additions in the portal as it still pursues a rim-protecting big to solve its biggest issue from last season.

If Nelson could slot to the power forward spot along with a true center from the transfer portal at the five, Alabama will have a chance to be among the best teams in the nation in 2024-25 and possibly even contend for its first-ever national championship.

Michael Brauner is a Senior Sports Analyst and Contributing Writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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