Auburn basketball: Jabari Smith’s stock rising ahead of freshman debut

Auburn basketball. Mandatory Credit: Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball. Mandatory Credit: Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports /

The highest-ranked recruit in Auburn basketball history just became a little more elite, jumping to the No. 4 spot in the final 2021 247 Sports rankings. According to Travis Branham, Smith will need to have an instant impact on the Tigers’ roster.

Everyone can agree that the Auburn basketball team did not have the best 2020 season. From the Sharife Cooper eligibility debacle to Justin Powell’s injury and ultimate exit to the post-season ban and then transfer portal woes, Bruce Pearl had a lot on his plate. The Tigers’ head coach prevailed, however, in securing several experienced players from the transfer portal to reload the roster and keeping 5-star recruit Jabari Smith onboard.

Though Pearl’s other 2021 signee, Trey Alexander, de-committed from the Tigers after Desi Sills, Wendell Green Jr., and Zep Jasper were acquired through the portal, the fact that Smith is still heading to the Plains means great things are ahead for Auburn basketball.

247Sports writer Travis Branham agrees, citing Smith’s athleticism and skill as key factors in getting Auburn basketball back on track to the NCAA tournament:

"He possesses great size, length and athleticism to go along with a budding frame that will quickly tack on weight as he gets settled on campus.Smith is skilled and smart and impacts the game in a variety of ways. He is a high level rebounder, versatile defender and a capable rim protector on the defensive end of the floor. On the offensive end, he runs the floor, can score on the block, has a face-up game, has continued to expand his shooting ability from beyond the stripe and is a good passer for the position."

Smith is likely to be a starter for the Tigers but could potentially be competing with Jaylin Williams and J.T. Thor, should he choose to return. Despite the rollercoaster of an off-season, 2021 is looking good for Pearl and the Auburn Tigers.

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