Auburn basketball: Signs point to Sharife Cooper’s impending return

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

After missing out on the entire pre-conference play portion of the schedule, could Sharife Cooper be on his way back to Auburn basketball this season?

Auburn basketball has not had its most exciting season under Bruce Pearl in 2020-21. It’s not the losses to Texas A&M and Arkansas in SEC play that have been the primary catalyst nor was it the pre-SEC losses to UCF and Gonzaga that have Fly War Eagle somewhat down.

It’s not even the fact that the Tigers self-imposed a postseason ban and have little to play for besides pride and development over the next few months.

Instead, it has to do with the now prolonged absence of one of Auburn basketball’s most exciting new prospects in years…Sharife Cooper.

Cooper was recently listed as the #40 NBA Draft prospect on Bleacher Report’s Top 50 and he hasn’t even played a game yet:

"40. Sharife Cooper (Auburn, PG, Freshman)Seen on the bench and practicing with Auburn, Cooper could be nearing his debut, which the NCAA has kept from happening because of eligibility issues. If he does suit up this season, there will be plenty of interest in his creativity off the dribble and confident shooting."

That said, there have been recent rumblings, with Bruce Pearl giving glimmers of hope that we can see the potential “none-and-done” this season:

"“We’re working on it… We are meeting about it. We are having discussions with the eligibility center. We are still hopeful. Sharife returned back to practice (last Monday). He had missed 72 days of practice.”"

We’ve slowly but surely been easing into what could be a full return for Cooper very soon, with the freshman guard joining the team for games and pregame shootarounds of late. While Justin Powell has risen to the occasion as the team’s ball-handler and Jamal Johnson has served as a valuable bench presence, the star power Cooper brings to the court is worth the price of admission for anyone looking to sneak in a socially distanced game on the Plains.

Let’s just hope whatever this was…

Turns out to be good news about Cooper’s eligibility for the rest of the 2020-21 Auburn basketball season.

dark. Next. Turbo is transferring to South Alabama