Posted in: Auburn Basketball

The Bruce Blog – Auburn basketball recruiting: Summer update

Basketball is transitioning from summer to fall with AAU circuits ending and fall leagues starting. Despite not receiving any commitments and dealing with extended NCAA dead periods this summer, Auburn and some of its top targets had busy off-seasons.

2021:

JD Davison – Five-star guard, No. 9 overall
Commitment date: October 31

Davison is one of Auburn’s highest priorities, and Auburn seems to have moved into first place in Davison’s recruitment based on what’s being reported and the rumors out there.

But with more than a month left before he commits—and schools such as Alabama, LSU, and Kansas in the mix—I wouldn’t be surprised if Davison switches leaders, maybe more than once.

Why I feel good: Davison is a perfect fit for Auburn, thanks to his ability to score on almost anyone and his transition game. Auburn is also a good fit for Davison, with Bruce Pearl having a solid recent history of trusting his players, developing guards, etc. It seems like Auburn has done everything possible to make up ground this summer.

I think it’s too early to count anyone out with the schools and coaches involved, but Auburn seems to have a small lead with Davison, for now.

Jabari Smith Jr – Five-star forward, No. 5 overall
Commitment date: unannounced

Smith is a stretch big man with the ability to run the court, defend power forwards and centers, shoot from three, handle the ball, make plays in the post and the list goes on.

Smith’s summer has solidified him as one of the top players in the country, which has also heated up G League rumors.

The rumors hit their peak after Smith said he is exploring G League and overseas options in his SI All American blog Sept. 15. https://www.si.com/college/recruiting/basketball/jabari-smith-jr-blog-g-league-overseas-back-in-school-recruiting-college-basketball

I think it’s too early to count anyone out, but it’s also too early to consider counting Smith as a sure-fire college player.

Auburn has done their work with Smith, and he has talked favorably about the campus and coaches, but the G-League is hard to fight. Smith will remain a target to keep an eye on. If he moves away from the G League option, Auburn should be one of the top choices.

Other players to watch in 2021 include: Deebo Coleman, Wesley Cardet, and TyTy Washington.

2022:

With the amount of multi-year players Auburn added with its 2019 and 2020 classes, the 2022 class will be important for replacing the players leaving early or for adding a star to a talented, experienced roster.

It’s hard to imagine Sharife Cooper (or potentially Davison) staying long enough to play with 2022, and assuming they don’t, I believe Auburn’s highest priority is 2022 five-star guard Scoot Henderson.

Scoot Henderson – Five-star guard, No. 17 overall
Commitment date: Unannounced

Henderson is a target many have pegged with an early Auburn lead. Assistant coach Wes Flanigan has been Henderson’s lead recruiter and has been on the five-star hard for over a year.

Henderson is nearly unstoppable in transition thanks to his handle and control and has a quickly developing game on offense and defense, making him a great target for Auburn.

Henderson’s high school team, Kell in Georgia, is scheduled to play in several big tournaments, which could boost Henderson’s stock even more.

Why I feel good: The early lead seems legit. The Tigers are also projected as the leader for Joyful Hawkins—an AAU teammate and friend of Henderson’s—and are showing interest in some of Henderson’s other teammates, such as Chase Cormier.

If Henderson does have a high school season like what’s expected, he could gain some “blue-blood” interest, so I don’t think the recruitment is close to being over. But Auburn has done everything possible to put themselves in a good spot.

Joyful Hawkins – Four-star forward, No. 75 overall
Commitment date: Unannounced

Hawkins was one of the summer’s biggest stock risers, going from an unranked recruit to 247’s No. 75 recruit in the country. Hawkins also picked up a crystal ball projection in favor of Auburn.

Hawkins is another stretch big who can run the court, knock down threes and produce in the post. Hawkins was expected to attend Kell High School with Henderson, but the pandemic and other factors are causing him to stay in the Brunswick area and attend Glynn Academy.

Why I feel good: Auburn was one of the first schools recruiting Hawkins and began recruiting him early. Hawkins has developed good relationships with the staff and is a good fit for Auburn.

Other players to watch in 2022 include: Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Dariq Whitehead, Barry Dunning Jr, Nick Smith Jr and Chauncey Wiggins.

2023:

Matt and Ryan Bewley

The Bewley twins are top 20 five-stars in 2023, according to ESPN, and both attend West Oaks High School in Florida. West Oaks is Auburn guard Tyrell Jones’ alma mater and home to Auburn targets such as Wesley Cardet Jr.

The Bewley twins are both versatile and athletic wing/forward players with high upsides.

Kanaan Carlyle

Carlyle is another high ceiling player Auburn has recruited from the jump and who ESPN has ranked as an early five-star, top 20 player in 2023. Carlyle plays at Milton High School in Georgia, with Georgia legacy and Auburn target Bruce Thornton.

Carlyle is becoming a more popular recruit seemingly every month, as a guard who already has great range, good size and a good handle.

While 2023 prospects such as Carlyle and the Bewleys are too “new” to the recruiting process to predict any favorites, Auburn was in early on all three, which usually means Auburn will stick around or at least have a chance to.