The University of Alabama’s All-SEC point guard, Kira Lewis, announced on Tuesday that he would remain in the NBA Draft, hiring an agent and foregoing the final two years of his collegiate eligibility.

 The move was not unexpected, as Lewis, who announced shortly after the abrupt end of the 2020 season that he would explore his draft options, has been a projected first-round selection in many mock drafts.

 Lewis is the fourth player confirmed as not returning for the 2020-21 season. Guard Beetle Bolden completed his eligibility and freshmen Raymond Hawkins and Jaylen Forbes have both entered the NCAA Transfer portal and plan to play elsewhere next season.

 Alabama has five newcomers signed for the upcoming season and is still awaiting NBA decisions from juniors John Petty and Herbert Jones. Lewis started every game at the point guard position last season and those duties are expected to rest with Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly, who sat out last season, in 2020-21.  

 Lewis, who earned SEC All-Freshman honors in 2019 and All-SEC honors in 2020, led the Crimson Tide in scoring (18.5 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), steals (1.8 spg) minutes (37.6 mpg) and field goals made (206) and attempted (449).

“We are excited for Kira and his family,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said on Tuesday. “Whichever NBA team drafts Kira will be getting a special player. He’s the fastest kid from one end of the floor to the other that I’ve ever coached. The NBA has gone to a game of pace and getting up-and-down, so I think he fits the direction the league is going. He is a great kid who wants to be in the gym and get better. I think he’s going to help a team. The fact that he’s only just turned 19 years old and has played two years of college basketball gives him a high potential. I think someone will take him in the first round and I’d love to see him go as high as possible.”

   “First, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because anything is possible with him,” Lewis said via his Twitter account on Tuesday. “My continuous prayers are without worry during this uncertain time as we experience the COVID-19 pandemic. For as long as I can remember, playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine. As I reflect on my early basketball years, I am truly thankful for the love and support shown by my coaches, teachers, teammates, trainers and fans.

“To my parents, thank you for always believing in me and being in my corner, no matter the circumstances. I would like to thank the University of Alabama staff, present and former, for allowing a kid from Meridianville, Alabama, to live out his dream of playing college basketball. Lastly, to all of my supporters, you have all made this a memorable experience. I thank you with all my heart.”

 Reach Cecil Hurt at or via Twitter @cecilhurt