Auburn basketball fans almost got to witness top 3 picks in consecutive NBA drafts, but Scoot Henderson never followed Jabari Smith’s path to the Plains, instead opting to sign in the G-League for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons after leaving high school following his junior season at Kell in Marietta, Georgia. As 247Sports’ Travis Branham reported, it was so close to happening that there was a deal signed “behind the scenes.”
“Had Henderson played college basketball, he was a lock to suit up for Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers,” Branham prefaced before saying, “In fact, Henderson had actually silently committed to Auburn behind the scenes in the spring of 2021 before the talks of reclassifying and going pro had really surfaced.”
Henderson is expected to go No. 3 in the draft behind unanimously projected top pick Victor Wembanyama and Alabama product Brandon Miller. And while many know Henderson’s name, not as many people got to see his game playing for the G-League Ignite last season instead of in a college hoops Power conference.
Scoot Henderson would’ve been ‘lock’ to go No. 2 in 2023 NBA draft had he joined Auburn basketball
As Branham puts it, Henderson not joining the Auburn basketball program for either the 2021-22 season or the 2022-23 season (or both) when he had the chance cost him a chance to be a bona fide No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft behind Wembanyama.
“Had Henderson gone to Auburn for even just a year, his explosiveness and ability to get downhill would have made him nearly impossible to contain,” Branham prefaced before saying, “In a comparison with Brandon Miller, who faced college guys and not pros, Scoot would be a lock to go second in Thursday’s 2023 NBA Draft.”
Welp. The Auburn family never got Scoot in the orange and blue and never will, but like Jalen Green before him, Tiger fans can forsakenly imagine for days what could’ve happened if they had.