We are now 129 days removed from the start of the 2020 Auburn basketball season and a very young phenom is already a first round pick on various NBA Mock Draft boards for next year. Who is this future weapon for the Tigers?
His name’s Isaac Okoro. If you haven’t heard of him by now then you will soon. The incoming freshman is poised to make lots of noise this upcoming season with the Tigers as they work to replace star power. Standing at 6″6 and 201 lbs Okoro’s play style has been described by some to resemble the functionality of a Swiss army knife. He is a small forward known for his brilliant level of play on both sides of the ball. He’ll be a great rebounder, shooter, and defender. Okoro brings hope and excitement to the Tigers moving forward after suffering the losses of Okeke, Brown, Spencer, Harper, and Dunbar. So what does his resume look like?
Okoro is a 4 star recruit ranked 39th of 100 in ESPN’S Top 100 Recruits of the class of 2019. This past season he played a big role in McEachern High School going 32-0 and winning the state championship. He has participated in Team USA basketball camps since he was a freshman and he competed in the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup where he won a gold medal. This past April he played for Team USA in the 2019 Nike Hoops Summit.
So who is picking Okoro to go first round in 2020?
The Stepien’s Mike Gribanov has Okoro in his top 5. Gribanov emphasizes Okoro’s abilities to defend the perimeter offensively and defensively as his strongest factor. Gribanov makes excellent points in his ranking of Okoro, especially how he is willing to bet on Okoro’s shot. We’ve seen how effective Bruce Pearl is in transforming his players. Bryce Brown scored 302 points in his freshman year at Auburn, this year in his fourth and final season he more than doubled that total scoring 637 points and set the program record for most 3-pointers in a career with 382 makes from 3. He is a prime example of Bruce Pearl’s ability to transform and get the most from his shooters and Pearl will do the same with Okoro.
Check out Mike Gribanov’s full analysis of Okoro here:
Ross Homan, another contributor for The Stepien is very keen on Okoro’s abilities after examining his play in the ESPN High School Showcase against California’s No. 9 Rancho Christian. Like other draft boards he has extremely high praise for Okoro’s wing defense. His thread of coverage on Okoro in McEachern vs Rancho Christian is short and concise, but gives Auburn fans a variety of insight into Okoro’s abilities. Auburn target Sharife Cooper is given high praise here as well. Homan has Okoro at number six in his mock draft.
Homan’s thread begins here: https://twitter.com/Ross_homan1/status/1144333513149358082
Homan’s analysis and mock draft: https://www.thestepien.com/2019/06/27/ross-homans-first-2020-big-board/
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell has Okoro going 15th overall citing some of his Swiss army knife-like abilities. O’Donnell too praises Okoro’s perimeter defense abilities. The most exciting news for Auburn fans in O’Donnell’s analysis is that Okoro shot 46% from beyond the arc and had four assists per game while playing for Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League as an upcoming senior. Okoro’s sharp defensive skills will help fill the roles left behind by Okeke, Spencer, and Dunbar while his true shooting potential and aggressive offensive play will help Auburn establish rhythm without Okeke, Brown, and Harper.
Ricky O’Donnell’s full analysis of Okoro can be found here:
Nobody knows what the future holds for Auburn basketball, but there is one thing that is certain and that is that Isaac Okoro will make an immediate impact to this basketball program. Could he be Auburn’s first NBA lottery pick?