Auburn basketball fans have never been more excited about a canceled visit to Manhattan, Kansas in their lives.
Julian Phillips, the long-time 5-star recruit ranked No. 13 in the country overall, has seemingly made his intentions for his next move clear: the lanky Link Academy combo forward is likely making his way to the Plains.
Bruce Pearl has all but certainly done it again, adding Phillips to a lineup that will include fellow 5-star Yohan Traore, who was vocal about his desire to see Phillips join him as a Tiger in 2022, and recent big man commit Johni Broome via the transfer portal and Moorehead State.
His canceled trip to Kansas State is, in some ways, a depressing blow to the Big 12 program, who hadn’t had a player of his caliber on campus in a long time, per the Wichita Eagle:
"His upcoming visit to Manhattan is big news for new basketball coach Jerome Tang. K-State hasn’t landed a five-star recruit since Wally Judge in 2009. And the Wildcats have only signed four over the past 20 years. The others were Michael Beasley (2007), Bill Walker (‘07) and Jason Bennett (‘06). Phillips is thought to be the first five-star recruit to take an official visit to K-State in 13 years."
Auburn basketball will now be going in a different direction in 2022-23 than originally thought
When the 2021-22 season ended, Bruce Pearl made it clear the Tigers would be building around Jaylin Williams, but it isn’t likely Williams even finds the starting lineup at all with all these moves.
If Pearl makes his starting lineup with the intention of playing the guys with the highest ceilings, Phillips, Traore, and Broome would make up the frontcourt. Perhaps Pearl could instead deploy all his blue-chip prospects in the second unit, and start vets like Williams, Allen Flanigan, and Dylan Cardwell in the first five.
Either way, all these recruiting wins shifts the focus for the program as they look for their first national championship in 2022-23.