Alabama basketball

Alabama guard Kira Lewis Jr. (2) goes to the basket. Photo by Robert Sutton

TUSCALOOSA – Two days after turning 18, and nearly two weeks after entering the NCAA transfer portal, Kira Lewis Jr. has decided to stay put at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide’s star freshman point guard picked Alabama despite heavy interest from several premier national programs, including Duke, during a social media post Monday afternoon.

“After carefully weighting all my options and discussing and praying about this important decision with my parents, I have officially decided to remain at the University of Alabama,” Lewis wrote in a message posted to his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon. “My parents fully support my decision and we all feel this is the best option for my future. Please respect my decision. #RollTide.”

The decision to stick around came 13 days after Lewis Jr. initially entertained his transfer options by submitting his name into the NCAA’s new transfer database.

Lewis’ return is a big coup for new Alabama head men’s basketball coach Nate Oats, who was hired a week ago last Wednesday, one day after Lewis entered the transfer portal following a mutual parting of ways with former Tide head coach Avery Johnson, who originally recruited Lewis to Tuscaloosa.

Lewis is the second Alabama player to pull his name back from the transfer portal, joining sophomore wing John Petty, who elected to stay last week after meeting with Oats.

Despite being the second-youngest player in college basketball last season, Lewis led the Crimson Tide (18-16) with 13.8 points a game and double-digit efforts in 23 games. He was one of only two Alabama players to start all 34 games on the year.