Charles Bediako to Stay in NBA Draft

\ against Maryland at Legacy Arena - Birmingham in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Mar 18, 2023.

In a decision that comes as a pretty big surprise, now former Alabama center Charles Bediako will keep his name in the NBA Draft rather than returning to Tuscaloosa for his junior season, according to a report from ESPN. Bediako entered the pool on April 1st and still has until the end of May to pull his name out, something many players do after the rules changed a couple of years ago, but appears as if he will stay and try to be drafted.

To put it bluntly, this is a move that is really going to hurt Alabama this season. Bediako was the anchor as well as the heart and soul of a defense that was ranked 3rd in the nation according to KenPom. Losing Noah Clowney as well, which was expected, Alabama’s frontcourt is extremely depleted headed into next season. There are still three open roster spots, but not many big men left in the portal.

Center wasn’t a position that Alabama went after very strongly this offseason, mostly because they expected Bediako to be back. By all accounts, this is a move that has caught the program by surprise, and Nate Oats and co. will now have to pivot their focus to try and find more depth at the position.

Alabama does return Nick Pringle, who showed flashes in his first season, but Pringle is nowhere near the defender that Bediako is, and likely can’t be even if he reaches his ceiling. Not to cast complete doom and gloom, but losing Bediako has to be the toughest blow of the off-season thus far.

Nate Oats will have his work cut out for him this season after losing yet another piece from a 31-win team that won a double-SEC championship and reached the Sweet 16.