To say that Auburn’s recruiting has picked up under second-year head coach Bruce Pearl would be a serious understatement. Since Pearl’s taken over the once moribund program has been in the running for some highly regarded prospects, and they’ve landed their fair share too.
Thursday afternoon Auburn received its second verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star point guard Davion Mitchell announced that he’ll be a Tiger. News of Mitchell’s commitment was first reported by Rivals.com.
Mitchell joins five-star big man Austin Wiley in Auburn’s 2017 class to date, and like Wiley he’s a Georgia native. That’s a state the Auburn staff’s worked hard to recruit, with two of their three 2016 commitments being Georgia natives after getting just one (guard Bryce Brown) in their 2015 class.
The 6-foot-1 Mitchell plays a position where Auburn needed additional depth for the future, with Tahj Shamsid-Deen being a junior and verbal commit Jared Harper (2016) being the options in line for the point guard position.
Mitchell, who attends Liberty County HS in Hinesville, Georgia, played his grassroots basketball for the Georgia Stars program this summer. Mitchell averaged 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in the 16U division of the Nike EYBL circuit, shooting nearly 55 percent from the field.
An athletic point guard with the handle needed to attack defenses off the dribble, it will be interesting to see what kind of progress Mitchell can make in his final two high school seasons before enrolling at Auburn.
Auburn continues to build momentum on the recruiting trail as head coach Bruce Pearl and the Tigers secured a commitment from five-star Class of 2017 center Austin Wiley.
The 6-foot-10 Wiley made his announcement on Twitter and he’s regarded as the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2017 class.
Wiley represents the first commitment for Auburn in the Class of 2017 and he’s an important piece. It’s nice for the Tigers to keep a talented in-state prospect from Birmingham at home, but he’s also a center, which is a position that Auburn has yet to recruit among its four Class of 2016 commitments.
With Pearl landing five-star guard Mustapha Heron in 2016 and now five-star center Austin Wiley in 2017, it represents that he’s resonating with elite talent and getting them to buy into his vision for the future.
Auburn deserves a lot of credit for recruiting Wiley hard while he’s been hurt. The junior had two surgeries the last few months to clean up his left knee around the patellar tendon before fixing a partial tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. Both of Wiley’s parents went to Auburn, however, and they were always considered one of the frontrunners.
It appears Trayvon Reed will not be on the Auburn roster to begin the season for the second straight year.
According to a report from Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser on Friday evening, Reed has not enrolled in classes this semester for “personal reasons” but is expected to re-enroll for the spring.
Reed, a top-100 recruit in the Class of 2014, began his college career with a brief stint at Maryland. He was dismissed from the team following a July 2014 arrest. He committed to Bruce Pearl and Auburn the next month, but wasn’t eligible to play until the second semester. In 23 appearances, the 7-foot-2 center averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game.
An Auburn spokesperson told the Montgomery Advertiser that there is a possibility that Reed redshirts this season to preserve a full year of eligibility.
Auburn should make strides in Pearl’s second year, but it’s still early in the rebuilding process. Top rebounder Cinmeon Bowers returns and will be joined by Providence graduate transfer Tyler Harris and four-star forwards Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer on the frontline. Shooting guard T.J. Dunans, another f0ur-star recruit in Pearl’s first recruiting class, joins the back court along with Marshall transfer Kareem Canty.
Auburn begins the 2015-16 season at home against UAB on Nov. 13.