Huge weekend to help shape Auburn’s future
The imprint on Auburn basketball courtesy of Bruce Pearl is being made quickly and authoritatively. The highly successful coach is just now getting his feet on the ground recruiting wise, and already two highly rated prospects picked the Tigers in 2015. That influx of talent comes off of landing some quality 2014 class members and a transfer. From Pat Dye, to Tommy Tuberville, to Gene Chizik, to now Gus Malzahn, Auburn has had some charismatic and successful football coaches that have made them a nationally relevant and successful program for a long time. While the Tigers have had some quality seasons in basketball during the time those guys have been roaming the sidelines in football, the hoops squad has never been able to maintain consistent success. Now however that could be changing because of Pearl. While Pearl technically hasn’t been able to recruit up until Sunday, since being named head coach of the program, Auburn has landed a highly coveted junior college transfer in Cinmeon Bowers, a talented guard in Kareem Canty, and now in the last 72 hours two four-star frontcourt targets in Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer picked the program. What made Pearl successful at Tennessee was players with lots of athleticism and the versatility to play all over the floor. In Purifoy and Spencer, that is exactly what the duo brings. Purifoy can play either the small forward or power forward position while Spencer can play power forward or center. Both combine toughness, athleticism, and length to be potentially excellent on the defensive side of the ball, while giving enough effort to be effective on offense as well. While neither is a huge scorer, in Pearl’s system, both will be effective and provide a lot of rebounding while allowing the Tigers to switch on defense and really get into offensive players. When those two prospects are eligible in 2015, is also when Canty comes into the fold. Canty averaged 16.3 points and 5.5 assists per game in his one season at Marshall. At 6-feet tall, Canty isn’t the traditional point guard that some might want, but he is still a proven scorer and someone who is a willing passer. He along with Purifoy and Spencer will provide a major influx of talent to the roster, and give the Tigers one of the better young cores in the SEC. Then there is Bowers. While at times he has lost his way off the court, Bowers is still a very talented prospect on it. At around 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds, he is a big body with skill who will likely occupy the center spot from day one. Bowers will rebound well, and then on offense has an ability to play inside and in the mid-range to be a matchup problem. This immediate influx of talent should give Auburn fans hope of making the NCAA Tournament early in Pearl’s tenure. Increased success plus the salesmanship of Pearl in the public eye should make Auburn basketball more visible than ever. Who knows exactly what that will lead to as time goes on, but Pearl is a proven winner, and now is brining excitement and talent to the Auburn basketball program that hasn’t been seen in years.