CAA Men's Basketball

Two-Time CAA POTY Aaron Estrada Helps Alabama Basketball To Final Four

Two-Time CAA POTY Aaron Estrada Helps Alabama Basketball To Final Four

A two-time CAA Player of the Year at Hofstra, Aaron Estrada played a key role in Alabama basketball advancing to its first-ever Final Four in 2024.

Apr 1, 2024 by Kyle Kensing

Ahead of Alabama basketball facing Clemson in Los Angeles with a berth in the Final Four on the line, Aaron Estrada shared what has proven to be an undeniable truth of his basketball career. 

"I would say I'm a winner at the end of the day," he said. "I just want to win." 

Estrada's done plenty of winning, including winning two Coastal Athletic Association Player of the Year awards at Hofstra in 2021-22 and 2022-23. As the star guard of the Pride, Estrada averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals per game for a team that won 21 games in 2021-22. 

The next season, Estrada was good for 20.2 points per game despite seeing more emphasis from opposing defenses, grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Hofstra won a share of the CAA regular-season championship and the last of the Pride's 25 victories ranks among the biggest in program history with a defeat of Rutgers in the National Invitational Tournament. 

Estrada went for 13 points, four assists and three steals at Rutgers, the kind of solid, all-around stat line that reflects the kind of versatile playmaker on which Estrada prides himself. 

"So whatever the team needed me to do, whether to score that night, rebound, get assists, play defense, I'm going to do it," he said. 

Aaron Estrada The Scoring Machine

The scoring punch that paced Aaron Estrada to his two CAA Player of the Year awards produced eight 30-plus-point games at Hofstra. 

Against then-defending CAA regular-season champion James Madison, and opposite a roster featuring some of the Dukes that advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, Estrada went off for 35 points. 


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His six made 3-pointers that February 2022 day were his career-high —at least, until the night a year later when he also snapped his individual scoring-high. 

Aaron Estrada's performance vs. Elon in January 2023 ranks among the most impressive in recent CAA history. He sank eight 3-pointers en route to a 40-point night. 

Highlights: Hofstra's Estrada Goes For 40

Estrada's high for Alabama basketball, 27 points, came in a win over an Indiana State team that reached the Associated Press Top 25 late in the regular season. 

Estrada opened Alabama basketball's run to the Final Four through the NCAA Tournament with 13 points against former CAA rival Charleston. His 19 points in a Sweet 16 win over North Carolina proved crucial. 

"I've been in college five years, and this is my first NCAA Tournament," Estrada said, citing just participating in March Madness as his personal highlight of the 2023-24 season. 

Aaron Estrada The Playmaker 

The willingness to take on whatever role his team needs from him, which Estrada espoused before the Elite Eight, showed up in Alabama basketball's Final Four ticket-punching win over Clemson. 

When the Crimson Tide struggled offensively early and fell behind the Tigers by 13 points, Estrada provided a steadying presence with five points, five rebounds and a variety of terrific passes that produced three assists early into the contest. 

"When you hit adversity in a game, it's easy to fold," Estrada said. "I've been doubted my whole life...It just added more fuel." 

 Estrada finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the Elite Eight win. 

How Alabama Basketball Reached Its First Final Four 

Before the 2024 NCAA Tournament, Alabama basketball played in the Elite Eight just once prior in 2004. The Crimson Tide made good on the opportunity that fell short 20 years earlier, beating Clemson in the West Regional Final, 89-82. 

Alabama 109, Charleston 96 

Representing the CAA in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season, Charleston excited the Big Dance losing to an opponent that went on to reach the Final Four. 

Alabama basketball All-American Mark Sears scored 30 points to pace the Crimson Tide past the Cougars in coach Pat Kelsey's swan song with Charleston. 

Alabama 72, Grand Canyon 61 

Aaron Estrada's eight points, 10 rebounds and six assists were clutch in a hard-fought win over a tough Grand Canyon team. Mark Sears scored 26 points as Alabama basketball advanced to its third Sweet 16 in as many postseasons. 

Alabama 89, North Carolina 87

Grant Nelson went for 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and his and-one play down the stretch elevated Alabama basketball to the Elite Eight. 

The Crimson Tide weathered a 54-point halftime from North Carolina, settling in to rally in the second half before knocking off the No. 1 seed Tar Heels. 

Alabama 89, Clemson 82 

"To be from Alabama, and do it with this group of guys, it's amazing," Mark Sears said of advancing to the Final Four. Sears made seven 3-pointers, with six in the second half, to seal West Regional Most Outstanding Player. 

Sears scored 23 points in the landmark win for Alabama basketball.