In an interview he did with The Undefeated, Auburn basketball target and 2020 five star guard Jalen Green said that his commitment date will be around April 15.
According to 247sports’ crystal ball predictions, Auburn currently has 73 percent of the expert predictions, while Memphis, Oregon and undecided all have nine percent each. It’s still worth noting that 247Sports expert Jerry Tipton (and others) said that he thinks Green could still choose to go overseas and most of the experts at Rivals are still picking Memphis.
Watching a few of Green’s full games from his senior year at Prolific Prep have made me realize Green would be a better fit at Auburn than I originally thought. And when competing to be the No. 1 draft pick in a class as stacked as the draft class of 2021 could be, everything matters.
Originally, I thought of Green as a high scoring guard who would come in and feast on assists from 2020 Auburn signee Sharife Cooper. Since watching more of Green’s games, I’ve noticed that he handles the ball a lot and is an above average passer and point guard, in addition to his ability to score a lot of points in a high volume role.
Green’s build and skill set reminds some people of Penny Hardaway and helped fuel some of the Green-to-Memphis talk, especially early on, but the more I’ve watched of Green makes me realize that Auburn has shown that they offer everything he needs to showcase his talent and has made me more confident in what I imagine are Auburn’s pitches.
TL;DR, featuring Auburn comparisons: Green can do some of everything on offense. At first I saw him in a Bryce Brown like role if he comes to Auburn, but watching him more has made me shift my role-comparison to one like Samir Doughty played in last season.
The constant green light from coaches; Pearl’s success with dynamic back courts; Auburn’s recent success and exposure (Final Four, CBS games, College GameDay, etc) and Pearl’s ability to help players improve draft stock make Auburn a good fit for a potential No. 1 pick.
Green handled the ball a lot for Prolific Prep. That’s expected when a player of Green’s caliber plays in high school, but it’s more rare when that player shares the back court with a top-100 point guard in 2022 (Jordan Pope) and another McDonald’s All American five star guard (Nimari Burnett).
Per my calculations, Green brought the ball up the court in a point guard role on 38 percent of Prolific Prep’s first half, half court possessions against Central Pointe in the Grand Session World Championship, despite being seen as more of a wing than Burnett and Pope at the college level. (I probably missed a few possessions and tried not to count fast breaks.)
The amount that Auburn plays its point guard off ball (whether that be Jared Harper off ball with Davion Mitchell and J’Von McCormick or McCormick off ball with Doughty and Doughty running the point last season) shows Pearl is not afraid to switch it up.
In addition to Pearl’s history of deferring to players outside of the “point guard” position, the ability of Cooper and Tyrell Jones to score without being ball dominant guards would also play into Green’s (potential) ball dominant role.
Green is good in isolation, and Auburn ran plenty of isolation in the last few years with Doughty, Brown and Harper, among others.
Green’s explosive first step and ability to get hot shooting also make him a good fit in the drive-and-dish offenses that Auburn seems to frequently run when attacking zone defense.
Green’s ability to score at any level, score in transition and his athleticism make it clear that he’d be a good fit at Auburn, or anywhere else he goes, but Auburn seems to have as good of a selling point as anyone else at this point.
Auburn appeared on an ESPN on CBS channel 30 times last season and has guaranteed conference games against other top name opponents. The Tigers have also seen post season appearances and runs more recently than the other finalists.
Green will draw viewers and scouts no matter where he goes, but Auburn seems the most likely destination for him to reach his max level of exposure.
According to Jeffrey Lee from Auburn Rivals, Green has also built a good relationship with Auburn assistant Ira Bowman, and Pearl has been very active in Green’s recruitment.
Outside of his relationships with Auburn coaches, Green is notably good friends with Cooper. Cooper and Green know each other through AAU, SLAM and USA Basketball events, but Cooper has also been recruiting Green to Auburn for a while.
Auburn players such as Devan Cambridge have also been seen interacting with Green on social media.