Prior to Auburn’s game at Georgia Saturday evening, head coach Bruce Pearl announced that leading scorer and starting point guard Kareem Canty has been suspended indefinitely.
Canty’s currently averaging 18.3 points per game and his abilities as a scorer and distributor have been key for the Tigers offensively. When Canty returns to the court remains to be seen, with Pearl noting that Canty may be able to return before the end of the season.
“Kareem has had some strong moments for our team this season,” Pearl said. “He has demonstrated that at the highest level of competition, he can win his matchup.
“However, his effort and attitude have been extremely inconsistent, which led to actions and behavior that are unacceptable. He will step away from the team for a while and may return later in the season. He is suspended indefinitely.”
According to the release Cinmeon Bowers will move into the starting lineup for Auburn, which is now 9-13 overall and 3-7 in SEC play. Auburn’s lost five straight and eight of their last ten games after losing by ten at Georgia Saturday night.
Without him more minutes are available to freshman New Williams, who played 22 minutes against Georgia. Bryce Brown started and played 18 minutes, with Devin Waddell playing 12 minutes off the bench.
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.