Auburn basketball: recruiting update

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Auburn has an undefeated, top five basketball team and is trying to put together the type of 2020 recruiting class that could yield similar results in the future.

The Tigers already have three of their top prospects committed and signed, but are after a host of other top 100 players, including multiple top 10 players, and have (unfortunately) missed out on a few of their top prospects in the 2020 recruiting class.

Here’s a rundown of who to keep an eye on, and who to forget about, in order of their 247 ranking:

Jalen Green – five-star guard, No. 3 nationally, Prolific Prep

Experts and fans around the country were surprised when Jalen Green listed Auburn as somewhere he wanted to visit. The five star from California is one of the most electric players in recent classes and continues to add more to his game.

Green will be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in 2021 if he stays on his current trajectory.

Green visited Auburn for the weekend of the Mississippi State football game, when fellow five star guard Sharife Cooper made his commitment to Auburn.

Cooper is Auburn’s main link to Green. Green has referred to Cooper as his favorite point guard and the two were featured on the cover of Slam Magazine along with Josh Christopher.

Green, before he was ever publicly linked to Auburn, was reported to be interested in becoming a veterinarian.

Auburn has also sent coaches to California to visit Green multiple times since Green scheduled his 2019 Auburn visit.

Green has not released an official list of final schools, but Auburn receiving one of his official visits (along with Green’s connection to Cooper and other hints) makes it seem like the Tigers are in contention.

Memphis is the school most talked about when it comes to Green, but the five-star guard has said he isn’t afraid of going to a non-traditional power, and seems to have a good relationship with Cooper.

Green would be a great fit to play guard in Auburn’s green light, high powered offense, especially alongside a point guard like Cooper.

Terrence Clarke – five-star guard, No. 4 nationally, Brewster Academy 

Makur Maker – five-star center, No. 7 nationally, Pacific Academy

No one really knows what Makur Maker is going to do.

It seemed like he was going to go straight from high school to professional ball, and that seems like the most likely scenario in my opinion, but Auburn has received some buzz when it comes to the versatile center.

Corey Evans of 247sports said, “Should [Makur Maker] go to college, the schools most talked about are Auburn and Oregon.”

Greg Brown – five-star forward, No. 8 nationally, Vandegrift High School

Greg Brown has been on Auburn’s radar for a while, but Auburn made a serious push for him following the Tigers’ Final Four run.

Brown has visited Auburn twice since then, once the week after Big Bruce Weekend and again for the Iron Bowl.

Both visits seemed to go well, but the ultra-athletic big man is still believed to be favoring Texas, Kentucky and maybe Memphis over Auburn.

The Athletic’s Andrew Slater and Rivals’ Corey Evans both tweeted something along the lines of Memphis now being Brown’s leader Jan. 9.

Brown’s ability to defend, run the court, rebound, etc makes him a five-star athlete that can fit on just about any roster.

However, his ever growing ability to handle the ball, shoot and play like a stretch four makes Auburn a unique fit for him. Brown likely won’t have the constant green-light and touches that he would have while playing power forward for Auburn at many other schools.

Brown can turn himself into a top-10 pick no matter where he goes, but if I’m an Auburn coach, I’m trying to sell Brown on the opportunity to show off his skill set at Auburn and raise his draft stock.

Auburn made Brown’s final five on Aug. 6, although Brown has replaced North Carolina with Michigan since then.

(2021’s) Jonathan Kuminga – five-star forward, No. 1 nationally, St. Patrick School

Jonathan Kuminga is still (technically) in the class of 2021, but he is expected by many to reclassify into 2020 at some point, but that’s not the only reason he’s included here.

Jan. 9, Evan Daniels of 247sports said that, “… if I was handicapping I’d look at Kentucky and Auburn in the top tier.”

Kuminga is the consensus No. 1 overall player and can do it all on the court. He’d fit at any school in the country and can likely take his pick.

Kuminga’s first recorded visit to Auburn was for the football game against LSU in 2018, alongside a few of Auburn’s 2019 signees.

Auburn coaches have visited Kuminga four times since September of 2019 and Auburn made Kuminga’s official top-10 Nov. 6.

BJ Boston – five-star guard, No. 15 nationally, Sierra Canyon (Kentucky)Walker Kessler – five-star center, No. 16 nationally, Woodward Academy (UNC)Jaden Springer – five-star guard, No. 17 nationally, IMG Academy (Tennessee) 

Sharife Cooper – five-star point guard, No. 18 nationally, McEachern High School

Most Auburn fans don’t need an introduction. Cooper has been at the top of Auburn’s board for years now, and made his commitment official Sep. 27, before signing his LOI Nov. 23.

Cooper was a high school teammate of current Auburn players Isaac Okoro and Babatunde Akingbola. Cooper also played with Devan Cambridge on the AAU team AOT.

Cooper can fill up a stat when it comes to points and assists. Based on my eye test, Cooper has added some athleticism and improved his passing even more in the last year. More to come on all of that and how he fits into Auburn’s roster at a later date…

Keon Johnson – five-star guard, No. 22 nationally, The Webb School (Tennessee)Nimari Burnett – five-star guard, No. 24 nationally, Prolific Prep (Texas Tech)Cameron Thomas – five-star guard, No. 25 nationally, Oak Hill (eliminated Auburn)Jaemyn Brakefield – four-star forward, No. 40 nationally, Huntington Prep (Duke)Moses Moody – four-star guard, No. 45 nationally, Montverde (Arkansas) Matthew Murrell – four-star guard, No. 47 nationally, IMG Academy (eliminated)

Cliff Omoruyi – four-star center, No. 48 nationally, Roselle Catholic

Cliff Omoruyi is the definition of a big man.

Omoruyi is listed at 6’11” and 230 pounds and is known for running the court and protecting the rim, which he is able to do at an elite level thanks to his athleticism and 7’6” wingspan.

That would have given Omoruyi the third longest wingspan in last year’s draft. Despite the fact that Omoruyi was still in high school at the time and would have been competing with people like Tacko Fall and Bol Bol, the only players in last year’s draft with wingspans longer than Omoruyi.

Akingbola and Omoruyi could have the potential to be one of the hardest center-rotations to score against if Omoruyi joins Akingbola at Auburn.

Auburn was last in to visit Omoruyi two days before Christmas, after Omoruyi visited Auburn for the Tigers’ football game against Texas A&M.

Auburn made Omoruyi’s final five Jan. 13.

Jaylin Williams – four-star center, No. 70 nationally, Fort Smith (Arkansas)

Kai Sotto – four-star center, No. 75 nationally (ESPN), The Skills Factory

Kai Sotto is the newest name to watch when it comes to Auburn basketball recruiting.

Sotto is Filipino, but has been playing at TSF near Atlanta lately and plans to try his hand in a pro-am league overseas before college. Although, the possibility of a jump to the pros could be there for Sotto.

Evans Daniels of 247sports said that he thinks Sotto has NBA potential, and Sotto has taken multiple visits recently that confirm that.

Those visits include Auburn, Georgia Tech and Kentucky. The pictures Sotto uploaded during his Auburn visit, which include a behind the scenes look at Bruce Pearl recruiting and AD Allen Greene scaling a wall to take a picture with Sotto, are worth the price of admission:

Sotto is a unique talent, whose combination of big man skills and guard skills makes him look like a shoe in for the role Walker Kessler would have played at Auburn, if Auburn is able to land Sotto.

Chris Moore – four-star forward, No. 97 nationally, West Memphis

Chris Moore became Auburn’s third commitment on Nov. 16 and then signed his LOI Nov. 23.

Moore is a do-it-all forward who can probably slide into some big guard wing positions and small ball center positions depending on the type of lineups Auburn runs.

Moore has been a double-double machine for West Memphis so far this season. He had eight double-doubles in West Memphis’ first eight games and has continued to pile up stats since then.

More to come on Moore and his potential at Auburn at a later date…

Jayden Stone – four star guard, No. 100 nationally, Sunrise Christian

Jayden Stone is originally from Australia, but he moved to Alabama to play high school. After that, he moved to Kansas to play at Sunrise Christian.

At one point it looked like Stone was a lock to Auburn, and he still could be, but the combo guard has dropped considerably in some rankings since this time last year, and Auburn hasn’t seemed quite as all in on him.

That could change, especially if Auburn starts to feel less confident about some of the guys higher up on their board.

Stone was as high as No. 40 on 247sports at one point, but is now ranked No. 100 on the composite and No. 170 on 247.

Auburn received three crystal balls for Stone in 2019. Stone is worth keeping an eye on.

Justin Powell – three-star guard, No. 153 nationally, North Oldham

Justin Powell isn’t a top-100 player according to 247sports, but with Bruce Pearl’s recent history with underrated guards, Powell might look like a top-100 player by the time he leaves Auburn.

Powell has risen as high as the 60s and is currently No. 72 according to ESPN, but Powell had to miss most of his junior season after transferring to Montverde and then to North Oldham.

He got off to a hot start in AAU on the Nike Circuit with the Indy Heat, averaging 16 points per game while shooting 58-percent from three.

In his first game after sitting out most of his high school season, Powell scored 26 points on 6-6 shooting from three.

However, Powell suffered a groin injury shortly after that and missed the rest of his AAU season.

He re-aggravated that groin injury at the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic in Lexington and has been ruled out “indefinitely,” for this high school season.

If Powell can stay healthy he could be a legitimate three point option the second he gets to Auburn.