Auburn basketball: Okoro, Okeke and Harper all pick up wins on Sunday

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

Auburn basketball’s NBA trio was able to all pick up victories on Sunday, although Isaac Okoro received his first career DNP.

Auburn basketball fans can cheer for the Tigers this season, but there ultimately won’t be an endgame beyond player development for next season. In fact, we may be robbed of seeing Justin Powell compete for an SEC Championship if Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman is to be believed about the freshman being a potential NBA prospect:

"Sharife Cooper’s absence has created an opportunity for Powell, who’s capitalizing on an expanded role as the team’s primary ball-handler. He lacks speed and burst, but at 6’6″, he’s proved a capable ball-handler, smart passer, crafty scorer and lethal shooter by making 17 of his first 34 three-point attempts.Powell won’t be looked at as a lead guard at the next level, but teams are bound to show interest in his potential to play the wing based on his size, playmaking IQ and persuasive three-ball."

Without a postseason to play for, and the potential of missing out on what could turn out to be the next great NBA prospect from the Plains playing meaningful games, Auburn basketball is living vicariously through its former SEC stars.

Luckily, all three former Tigers still on NBA rosters all picked up victories on Sunday night, though the War Eagle cannot sit here and say the trio were primarily responsible for that. In fact, there was not a single point scored by an Auburn alum yesterday.

Now granted, the main reason for that was the absence of Isaac Okoro from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ lineup. Okoro is easily the best prospect from the Plains since Charles Barkley himself, but he was held scoreless Saturday night and ultimately left the Little Caesars Arena banged up. That led to him missing Cleveland’s matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers…which the Cavs somehow ended up winning by 24 points.

With the win, Cleveland moves to a spotless 3-0 on the season. Alabama alum Collin Sexton has led the way, scoring 27 points per game while dishing out a hair under four assists per contest, but Okoro should come on sooner than later–particularly if the Cavaliers’ hot start is for real.

Elsewhere, Chuma Okeke was able to provide 16 minutes off the pine for the Orlando Magic in their 120-113 victory over the Washington Wizards. It was their second consecutive win over Washington D.C.’s only winless professional hoops team–even the Generals steal a game here and there from the Harlem Globetrotters

Okeke didn’t attempt a single shot, but he did grab a rebound and dished out two assists, while also turning the ball over once. He was the only member of the second unit to have a negative box-plus/minus.

That said, a win’s a win, right?

And that’s what Jared Harper did as well. Despite suiting up for and having his checks cut out by the New York Knicks, Harper was able to join the winner’s circle after the Milwaukee Bucks left Madison Square Garden with their tales tucked between their legs following a 130-110 beatdown.

Harper saw the floor for just two minutes and missed his only shot attempt. The game was well in hand by the time he checked in.

While the pawprints of Auburn basketball didn’t leave much of a mark on the league by the three Tigers representing the program in the pros on Sunday night, all three can say they won. Not only that, but each team, in theory at least, is closer to the postseason now.

That’s certainly more than what Bruce Pearl’s squad can say, even if they somehow ran the table the rest of the way.

Next. Can Jared Harper carve out a role on the Knicks?. dark