Auburn basketball did not get Julian Phillips, but that’s okay. The Tigers have a stacked rotation as it is, and only have so many minutes to go around.
It stings, but Auburn will survive…and likely thrive anyway.
Bruce Pearl returns several upperclassmen from even the 2019-20 season, including Jaylin Williams, Allen Flanigan, and Babatunde ‘Stretch’ Akingbola. Veteran leadership is at a premium in an older locker room than Pearl had last season.
Like last year, the Tigers are also welcoming an array of high-profile high school stars and transfers. Johni Broome was an essential Walker Kessler replacement, while Yohan Traore is the second highest-rated recruit ever behind Jabari Smith and could slot into the potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick’s starting power forward.
After winning their second regular-season SEC Championship in five seasons, AU should once again flirt with a top seed in the NCAA tournament. Here’s how their rotation could shake out:
Auburn basketball starting lineup: Zep Jasper, K.D. Johnson, Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams, Johni Broome
Perhaps the most shocking name to see in this starting five is Jaylin Williams’. Williams lost his starting job to Jabari Smith last season but was promised by Pearl to be the primary building block for this team.
In an ideal world, Williams could slide down to the 3 and Yohan Traore would play the PF spot, but Pearl will likely stagger his bigs.
Auburn basketball second unit: Wendell Green Jr., Tre Donaldson, Chance Westry, Yohan Traore, Dylan Cardwell
There’s not going to be a ton of times that Pearl pulls all five starters for an entirely new lineup, but if he ever did, the Tigers have a second unit that can handle the bottom half of the SEC and about 90% of the country.
Auburn basketball reserves: ‘Stretch’ Akingbola, Chris Moore
Rounding out the rotation is two veterans going into their fourth and third years, respectively, ‘Stretch’ Akingbola and Chris Moore. Akingbola has a tough road to the floor with all of the big man talent ahead of him on the depth chart. Moore has an opening at the 3 if Allen Flanigan’s Achilles injury flares up at any point or if Chance Westry isn’t quite ready for Power Five basketball just yet.