Stuart McNair

Braxton Key led Alabama in scoring as freshman and was Freshman All-SEC

Alabama’s Braxton Key may still return to Alabama basketball for next season

When Avery Johnson took over as Alabama men’s basketball coach prior to the 2015-16 season, he said he would be trying to recruit the one-and-done type players, young men who were capable to making a quick entry to the NBA. It’s not likely he expected one of those to be Braxton Key from his first recruiting class.

And while Key on Monday was announced as planning to declare for the 2017 NBA draft, it is not a final decision. Key does not intend to hire an agent, thus maintaining his amateurism. He has until May 24 to decide whether to remain in the NBA Draft or return to the Crimson Tide for the 2017-18 season.

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Key was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team this year after leading the Crimson Tide in scoring (12.0 ppg) and minutes (29.8) per game, while also topping the team in double-figure scoring games (20) and games scoring more than 20 points (3). In addition, he ranked second on the team in assists (2.5 apg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg).

Key was even better in SEC play, ranking 17th in league games only with 14.0 points per game and 14th with 6.1 rebounds per contest. He was named the league’s freshman of the week on Jan. 30, after leading the Crimson Tide to wins at Georgia (Jan. 25) and vs. Mississippi State (Jan. 28). In those games, he averaged 22.5 points and 9.0 rebounds, while shooting 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from the floor, 4-of-8 (50.0 percent) from three and 19-of-27 (70.8 percent) from the charity stripe.

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