Auburn basketball: JT Thor commits

Auburn basketball received a commitment from four star forward JT Thor April 12, giving the Tigers’ the No. 8 recruiting class in the country with multiple five stars left on the board.

Auburn and Thor seemed to part ways shortly after Auburn showed initial interest in 2019.  Until Thor, who played high school basketball in Norcross, Georgia, added the Tigers to his final five in early March of 2020 and visited for Auburn basketball’s senior night shortly after.

Thor is a tall, long stretch forward whose versatility on both ends of the court will help him fit in at Auburn.

Thor’s ability to defend multiple positions and protect the rim will give him a chance to play early on at Auburn, and his three point shot and guard skills will give him a chance to carve out a good sized role as a freshman.

Deep dive:

Thor played against good competition while he was on the Boo Williams AAU team in the Nike EYBL. Thor didn’t post the most impressive averages, but his stats look good when you look at them game by game.

Thor had 17 points and 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in his first game with Boo Williams on 8/13 shooting. In the eight games Boo Williams has stats listed for, Thor had three or more blocks three times and averaged 1.9 blocks per game to go with his 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

At Norcross High School, Thor played at the highest level of Georgia high school basketball and was named the Region 7-7A Player of the Year while leading Norcross to the Elite 8.

Fans have seen what Bruce Pearl is able for do with stretch forwards like Chuma Okeke and Danjel Purifoy in the past, and Thor could be next in line.

Thor’s skill set constantly shows flashes that remind you why he was a top 10, five star at one point. He moves and handles the ball in ways you wouldn’t expect a 6’10″ forward to:

Here he defends a player with offers from Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech and others and then beats him off the dribble with his explosive first step in the next clip:

Some were worried that taking Thor meant Auburn might not get Greg Brown III. However, Brown has said he wants to play as a wing, or a big guard, or more importantly, not as a center.

Taking Thor shows Brown that Auburn is serious about playing Brown in a trailing guard/point forward position because there are now at least three players ahead of Brown capable of playing minutes at center on Auburn’s (projected) roster, and another center still on Auburn’s board in Dylan Cardwell.

Thor’s commitment could also help with Brown and Jalen Green in other ways. With the addition of Thor (and Auburn already having commitments from five star point guard Sharife Cooper, four star Chris Moore and three star Justin Powell) Auburn looks that much closer to competing at a high level. Especially with the upside of some of the players the Tigers return.

If Auburn adds a guard like Green and, or a forward like Brown, the Tigers will seem like a contender right from the start.

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