In the first day he was allowed to recruit following a three-year NCAA show-cause, Bruce Pearl made quick work on the recruiting trail on Sunday as the new Tigers head coach landed four-star forward Horace Spencer. The news of Spencer’s commitment was first reported by Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog.
Pearl met with Spencer at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday morning, right as the Auburn coach’s penalty that forced him to not call recruits, coaches or parents was lifted. Spencer was on an official visit to Auburn and a lot of credit is certainly due to Auburn’s assistant coaches, who helped Pearl recruit when he couldn’t make contact with players.
The 6-foot-8 Spencer attends basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep and is a major grab for Auburn. The No. 73 prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, is a good athlete with a high-running motor who should fit in well with Pearl’s system.
The commitment of Spencer gives Auburn two four-star commitments on the week as four-star wing forward Danjel Purifoy committed on Friday.
Details of Auburn coaches’ contracts were released on Friday and it includes the details of men’s basketball head coach Bruce Pearl’s new six-year deal.
According to James Crepea of the Montgomery Advertiser, the deal is worth $14.7 million and includes $250,000 in base salary and $975,000 in both endorsement rights and media appearances, with increases of $50,000 annually in both. Peal also got a one-time signing bonus of $500,000.
The former Tennessee head coach also has 16 performance bonuses which includes $25,000 for 20 wins or nine SEC wins in each of the next two seasons, or 22 wins, 25 wins of a NIT title. Pearl can also receive a $500,00 bonus for winning the national title.
Also of note in Pearl’s contract, he will owe Auburn $500,000 if he violates his NCAA show-cause penalty.
The buyout for Pearl’s contract is for 50 percent of his remaining contract. There’s a decreasing sum Pearl would owe for each year he would leave Auburn, beginning with $5 million if he left before April 15, 2016 and decreasing by $1 million each year through 2020. A final amount of $250,000 would remain if Pearl left after April 15, 2020, but before the end of this contract, which runs through June 2020.
Auburn is investing quite a bit in Pearl, but the buyout is a tough 50 percent and is high for the next few seasons.
Some freshmen are just looking to make it into the team’s rotation in their first year on campus. Others are looking to get a starting spot. Auburn’s Jordan Price has his sights set on something else: the NCAA’s consecutive made three-pointers record.
The 6-5 native of Decatur, Ga., has hit 11 straight over his last three games, four shy of the record 15 in a row hit by Northwestern’s Todd Leslie in 1990. Price went 4-of-4 from behind the arc in back-to-back games, wins over Grambling State and Furman, then posted a 3-of-3 night from three in a win over Tennessee Tech on Tuesday.
”He has been shooting the ball unbelievable,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee told the AP. ”As a scorer whenever you get on a roll like that, you get in that zone, and he is in one of those zones right now. He has been working hard in practice, and it has been paying off in the games.”
Before his streak began on Dec. 11, Price hadn’t been shooting the ball particularly well from three-point range, having gone 8-of-23. Now three games in, he’s shooting 55 percent from distance on the year and is averaging 7.7 points in a modest 16.5 minutes per game.
“I really don’t believe that I am a 3-point shooter,” said Price, who was praised more for his athleticism by scouts as a Top 100 prospect from the Class of 2012. ”I can shoot. It’s just a blessing that I haven’t missed. I’ve been settling for the 3 because I’m open. I can hit the mid-range shot and get to the basket. If they just tell me to keep shooting, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Price has already tied the 20-year-old SEC record of 11, set by Vanderbilt’s Kevin Anglin. His next chance to break that record and go for the NCAA mark will be Saturday when Auburn takes on Winthrop.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_