Auburn basketball: Jersey number guessing game

College athletes tend to post pictures in their new college jerseys when they arrive on campus as freshmen. This always interests me when it comes to Auburn basketball, because there are so few numbers available and commonly worn in college basketball that predicting players’ jersey numbers is somewhat possible.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19) and the public health crisis it has caused could result in making the number prediction game harder. That being said, here is my guess on what number every Auburn player will wear heading into next season.

#0 Tyrell Jones – I predicted “Turbo” would take over as #1 when he got to Auburn, considering he and Auburn forward Jaylin Williams wore numbers one and two on their visit to Auburn. Jones switched to #0 and it stuck. If I was Jones, I’d stick with zero because of the legend that is Horace Spencer. Jones is expected to take on a much bigger role next season, regardless of his jersey number.

#1 Jamal Johnson – Johnson took over the #1 after Jared Harper left for the NBA G League. Johnson was on the team for Harper’s last season at Auburn, meaning he could have had first dibs on #1 due to seniority. Johnson didn’t provide the consistent spark that Auburn needed last season, but Auburn has had a lot of luck with transfers in their second year. Players like Samir Doughty and J’Von McCormick both took huge steps when a role opened up in front of them, after playing a smaller role in their first active seasons at Auburn.

#2 Jaylin Williams – Williams took over the #2 after Bryce Brown graduated and moved onto the NBA G League. Many Auburn fans have called for Brown’s number to be retired, but last season it was given to Williams. Towards the end of the season, Williams started to live up to the jersey, by doing things such as throwing alley oops to himself off the backboard. Williams wore different numbers during his high school and AAU career, but I have a feeling his current number is here to stay.

#4 Javon Franklin – Franklin took over #4 following Malik Dunbar’s graduation. Franklin might not have had a huge impact in his first year at Auburn, likely due to still recovering from an injury, but the bouncy forward has Dunbar-like athleticism when he is 100 percent healthy and could have a chance to show it off, depending on how Auburn’s roster fills out.

#5 Sharife Cooper – Cooper wore #2 during his career at McEachern High School and with the AOT AAU team, but #2 is already worn by Williams. I think Cooper will instead take over the #5 from McCormick. As mentioned last off season, some of Bruce Pearl’s most important players have worn #5, such as Cinmeon Bowers and Chuma Okeke, so it would make sense for Cooper to wear it. The numbers 3 and 11 seem like possible backups unless Cooper gets his number from someone else.

#10 Chris Moore – Moore wore #2 during his time at West Memphis High School and while playing for the Woodz Elite AAU team. The only evidence I can find of Moore wearing a number other than #2 is in pictures he took during his Arkansas visits where he wore #1 and #40. Unless Moore can convince Williams to trade, the only guess I can make based off of evidence is that Moore will wear #40. However, for no reason other than a gut feeling, my official guess is that Moore takes over Samir Doughty’s #10.

#13 Babatunde Akingbola – “Stretch” wore #13 last season, even though I predicted him to wear #11. Because he choose #13 instead of sticking with #11 from his high school days, I see him carrying the number into next season. Like Jones and others, I expect Akingbola to take on a much bigger role this coming season.

#22 Allen Flanigan – Flanigan wore #22 as a freshman at Auburn last season. Flanigan’s number choice wasn’t just based on his high school number, but also the number that his dad (a current Auburn assistant coach and a former Auburn player) Wes Flanigan wore at Auburn. For that reason, I expect Flanigan to carry that number with him.

#23 JT Thor – Thor has worn quite a few numbers during his career so far. He wore #10 last AAU season for Boo Williams, and then switched to #15 for his senior season at Norcross High School. Before wearing those numbers, he wore #4 at Huntington Prep. All of that being said, Thor was seen sporting the #23 in his commitment edit and for the pictures he took on his Auburn visit. Thor might switch to one of his previous numbers, but with Okoro likely making the jump to the pros, #23 seems most likely.

#24 Justin Powell – Stepping into #24 will be hard for anyone to do after the reputation Anfernee McLemore created during his days at Auburn. Powell wearing the number in high school and having it displayed on some of his social media accounts makes me think he is next in line. Powell might not make the biggest impact in year one, after missing most of his junior and senior seasons of high school basketball, but his ability to shoot and score will give him a chance to live up to the jersey’s predecessor.

#35 Devan Cambridge – Cambridge wore #35 as a freshman at Auburn and changed his Instagram name to reflect that. I expect Cambridge will keep that number based on that and the following and reputation that Cambridge created during his first season at Auburn. I also expect Cambridge to make one of the biggest off season jumps for Auburn’s returning cast.

 

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