Auburn basketball: Justin Powell rightly named SEC Freshman of the Week

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

No freshman in the SEC has enthralled the college hoops watching public quite like Auburn basketball guard and SEC Freshman of the Week Justin Powell.

This is going to be a difficult season for Auburn basketball fans to find meaning in. Of course, this season has already been dealt a black eye in the form of a self-imposed postseason ban by Bruce Pearl and the athletic department.

Clearly, the Tigers sense that they may have been in the wrong regarding the Sharife Cooper situation, although in reality, helping steer students to a sports agent with mild ties to the school is far from the worst crime committed in college sports.

Baylor was a walking controversy for the better part of the past decade, and Jim Boheim literally killed a man with his car.

Auburn athletics is no stranger to scandals itself, with Cam Newtons’ 2010 scandal involving his father now appearing remarkably similar to the current Sharife Cooper situation.

Anyway, a great way to find meaning and enjoyment out of the 2020-21 Auburn basketball situation is to closely follow the development of freshman stud–and SEC Freshman of the Week–Justin Powell:

Powell has been on a tear this season, particularly since being inserted into the starting lineup. College and Magnolia’s “Son of Crow” even went as far as to compare his first five games to Klay Thompson’s first five games at Washington State.

As Mr. Crow’s son pointed out, Powell’s game is already mature, but he’s impressively playing out of position…and still dominating:

"Justin Powell is a 6’6” shooting guard being forced to play out of position at point guard. He is able to do this because he is also a gifted ball handler and does the fundamental things well. Powell turns the ball over at a higher rate than I’d like, but his usage percentage is also much higher than it should be. Right now, Justin Powell or JT Thor initiate the offense for Auburn almost every possession. In a perfect world, there’d be a third player who was specifically recruited to initiate the offense and unlock the off-ball potential of both Powell and Thor. Unfortunately that player isn’t on the Auburn roster, or really he is but the NCAA hasn’t decided if he is allowed to play basketball for free while they sell his games."

So far, guys like Thor and Jaylin Williams have been creating their own looks off of offensive rebounds and post-ups. Williams had eight assists against the Memphis Tigers the other night, but that was an outlier of performance more than the norm.

If Powell can up his assist totals–something that was not even expected to be something he was required to do before the season started–Powell can tie the offense together and lead them to a successful run in SEC play this season.

If the SEC title isn’t available to win, beating Tennessee, Missouri, Clemson, and of course, Alabama in the regular season is the next best goal.

It will take more weeks like this from Powell to achieve that.

Next. Tigers ranked seventh ranked school in FS250. dark