Auburn basketball: Tigers make the cut for one of the nation’s top recruits

One 5-star guard recently cut his list of schools down to 12 and the Auburn Tigers made the cut.

Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers are already bringing in five-star point guard Sharife Cooper as a part of their 2020 recruiting class. Per the 247Sports Composite rankings, the incoming freshman was the No. 24 recruit in his class and is Auburn’s highest-rated basketball recruit of all time.

And while Cooper has the chance to be a future star for the Tigers, Pearl and his staff haven’t stopped searching for the next future star on The Plains. Well, Auburn got some pretty good news this week when five-star guard Hunter Sallis cut his list down to 12 schools — one of which was the Tigers.

Sallis, a rising senior at Millard North high school in Omaha, Nebraska, is currently rated as a top-20 player in the entire country and is the No. 2 player at his position. The 6-foot-4 combo guard announced his top 12 schools on Sunday via his Twitter.

In no discernible order, Sallis placed Kentucky,  Michigan, Oregon, Gonzaga, UNC, Auburn, Iowa State, Alabama, Creighton, Kansas, Louisville and UCLA on his list. And while there are no 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for the rising senior, traditional powerhouses such as Kentucky, UNC and Tarheels are seen as favorites to land Sallis as of now.

Not only would Sallis overtake Cooper as the biggest recruit in program history for Auburn, he would also be a perfect replacement for the point guard if he decides to leave early to go pro.

As for the Tigers’ 2021 recruiting class, it is currently empty. Auburn previously had the commitment of four-star point guard Daeshun Ruffin before he committed in January and later committed to Ole Miss.

Pearl and his staff have been pursuing many elite high school seniors but simply have not been able to land any. Either way, Auburn’s roster next year will not feature a single senior so heavy recruiting for 2021 isn’t required.

Back to Sallis, the combo guard led the Millard North Mustangs to a 24-5 record last season before narrowly being defeated in the Nebraska Class A State Championships. On the year, Sallis averaged 22.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game per MaxPreps

Per a scouting report from NBADraftRoom.com, Sallis possesses elite handles with great scoring ability. The five-star guard already has a lethal mid-range jumper and should develop into a strong outside shooter at the next level.

The biggest knock against Sallis as of now is his frame. While he has the height, Sallis is listed between 165 and 175 pounds and will need to add muscle if he wants to guard perimeter players in college and possibly the NBA.

With his size and quickness at the guard position, Sallis has drawn comparisons to former Kentucky star and current Sacramento Kings star De’Aaron Fox.

It is unclear when exactly Sallis will commit to a school but it’s likely he will further trim his list down throughout the upcoming season. Only time will tell if Auburn continues to make the cut.