SEC Basketball Media Days took place today in Birmingham and Tip Off at Toomer’s takes place tomorrow in Auburn. Here’s what you need to know:
Countdown to Auburn basketball is heating up quick with just 20 days remaining. The Tigers are returning to action from a historic Final Four run but face familiar scrutiny in preseason rankings. Auburn is currently projected to finish fourth behind Kentucky, Florida, and LSU and have zero players named to preseason first or second All-SEC teams. Pretty weird considering this team returns five seniors who contributed to the team’s Final Four run last year.
Among the players snubbed in preseason polls, Bruce Pearl was most shocked that senior center Austin Wiley was left off the list. The last two years have not been easy for Austin Wiley. Sidelined due to NCAA scandal in 2017 he returned last year hoping to make more of an impact but struggled to remain healthy while battling several injuries. Wiley returns to action this year healthy and confident.
Wiley accompanied Coach Pearl and fellow senior center Anfernee McLemore to Birmingham today. McLemore is also no stranger to injuries. After suffering a gruesome injury late in February 2018 against South Carolina McLemore returned eight months later to help Auburn make history. He’s not done yet either. When asked where his favorite place to play is outside of Auburn Arena in the SEC he responded with Alabama’s Coleman Coliseum. His reasoning? Absolutely stellar as you should expect.
The veteran leadership of Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore is something that will be heavily relied on this upcoming season. Pearl described the dynamics of this current Auburn basketball team best when he said today that he’s coaching a team of 40-year-olds and 10-year-olds. The Tigers roster took a hit this last year after losing Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke, Bryce Brown, Malik Dunbar, and Horace Spencer. There are currently five seniors and seven freshmen. No in-betweeners.
Tipoff at Toomer’s will be the first opportunity to see the team in preseason action. There will be a basketball court on the intersection of North College and Magnolia, so plan accordingly. Tiger Talk will begin at 6:00, the 3-point and dunk competition will begin at 7, and autograph signings will take place at 8. Sage advice: plan out your parking in advance with this detailed parking map provided by Auburn Basketball.
I’m betting on Danjel Purifoy to win the 3-point contest and Isaac Okoro to win the dunk contest. What about y’all?
PS: If you’re going to Tip Off at Toomers send us pictures @ Fly War Eagle on Twitter! War Eagle!