Three-Point Play: Auburn, Jalen Wilson, having fun
PANGOS AA CAMP: Q&A with No. 2 in 2021 Terrence Clarke
Want an example of how to take advantage of a Final Four run? Look at Auburn. In today’s edition of the Three-Point-Play, national analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at how Bruce Pearl and the Tigers are trying to strike while the iron is hot. He also looks at what’s next for Jalen Wilson and has some thoughts on expecting too much from high school players at times.
1. AUBURN LOOKING TO STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT
Say this for Bruce Pearl and his staff at Auburn, they aren’t looking to waste any opportunity to take their program to the next level after 2019’s Final Four run. We all know how effective a recruiter Pearl is and he’s proven at both Tennessee and Auburn what he can do building a very competitive SEC team. But, Pearl and the Tigers currently have more street cred than ever and are taking advantage by bringing in an impressive group of prospects in a tight window.
There’s a lot to run through here, but I want to catch up on their most recent commitments before getting into all of the visits.
On Monday, the Tigers secured a commitment from high scoring 2021 point guard Daeshun Ruffin after a weekend unofficial. Though he’s not the biggest guy, Ruffin plays with loads of heart, has tremendous quickness and is a dangerous shooter from deep. It’s pretty easy to see him being the next Jared Harper and having him done early relieves pressure and gets things rolling with the rising junior class. Saturday, Auburn added three-star JUCO standout Javon Franklin, who was in town for an official visit and is a freakish athlete who has a motor. Auburn was hit pretty hard by early NBA entry and having a guy who can fly around the court and who has some experience is a good thing.
So about those visitors. How impressive is this list? In addition to Ruffin and Franklin over the weekend, Auburn hosted 2020 five-star prospects Walker Kessler (official), Sharife Cooper and B.J. Boston. Also on campus from the 2020 class were Justin Powell (official), Colby Jones and Rongie Gordon. Also on unofficials from the 2021 class were bouncy in-state guard J.D. Davison and athletic Arkansas wing Terran Williams. Early feedback is that the visits helped out greatly with Kessler and Boston.
Pearl and company aren’t done either. 2020 five-star Greg Brown will be by campus on Wednesday before 2020 five-star shooting guard Jaden Springer and four-star combo guard Jayden Stone make official visits this weekend.
2. WHAT’S NEXT FOR JALEN WILSON
Wilson recently wrapped up his official visit to Kansas and on Monday he traveled to Chapel Hill to begin his official visit with North Carolina. Also, new Michigan coach Juwan Howard has been spending time on the phone with Wilson and his family to try and save his commitment.
Early indications are that the visit to Lawrence was quite strong and that Bill Self and the Jayhawks have put themselves in excellent position. North Carolina may be able to turn him, but it has got some catching up to do if they are going to lure Wilson out of Big 12 country.
As for Howard and Michigan, they are trying to get back in the picture but unless they are able to get in home for a visit really soon, odds appear to be stacked against them.
There’s not a set time for a decision just yet, but I would expect Wilson to decide pretty soon after his return home from Chapel Hill.
3. IT’S OK TO HAVE FUN AT AN EVENT
Look, when I evaluate players I do so with the hopes that they are going to play hard, play team ball and do all they can to win while showcasing their individual talents. During the spring, I’ve been pretty impressed by the effort level and commitment to playing the “right way” during travel ball events I’ve watched across the country.
Over the weekend, I was at the Pangos All-American Camp and I heard over and over from scouts complaints about kids not playing hard enough or taking the camp seriously enough. I think it was the other way around. Some of us are taking ourselves way too seriously and expecting way too much of the kids. Especially a setting like Pangos Camp in sunny Southern California.
Dinos Trigonis does an excellent job of assembling talent from all across the country and there are some fun moments. It’s also great for getting some video and spending time catching up with players on their recruitments. But, given how much competitive ball these guys have been playing, how much traveling they’ve been doing and all of the pressure on them, it’s ok if the players don’t have a win-at-all-costs attitude at the camp.
We are still dealing with 15-18-year-olds and I don’t have a problem with them using an event like Pangos as one to have fun, let loose and not be so serious. We expect so much of these young men and we should hold them accountable. But, we also need to let them have some fun from time to time and if anybody has been to even one Pangos Camp, then they should know it’s a “fun” event. Next week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, later this month with their high school teams and July will provide plenty of opportunity to get serious. But for now, how about we let these guys have some fun every now and then without crushing them for it?