I would never have guessed this. Not in a million years.
A school more known for their football than anything else — Auburn — now has the number one 2017 recruiting class in the NATION.
Yes, the NATION.
This ranking came to fruition in July, but head coach Bruce Pearl is piling up the talent with the commitment of four-star 2017 small forward Chuma Okeke on Sunday.
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) July 24, 2016
Okeke’s stock has been rising this spring/summer as he has received offers from major schools like Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Florida State. The 6’8″, 221 pound forward is ranked 57th in ESPN’s top 100 and he is the 9th ranked player in the state of Georgia.
The Atlanta native is long and athletic, and possesses the scoring instincts to be an eventual starter on the wing for the Tigers. Okeke is impressive in transition, as he slashes and scores in the mid-range.
While Okeke is still working defensively, his main weaknesses include his lack of strength and his non-consistent three point shot.
With solid physical tools, Okeke can eventually mold into a reliable rebounder and a player who can guard multiple positions on the defensive end.
Okeke will be a key piece to the 2017 recruiting class, but the Tigers also have commitments from five-star big Austin Wiley and one of the top point guards in the class in Davion Mitchell.
Wiley, who is ranked 19th in ESPN’s top 100, is a big physical paint presence who can score around the rim, block shots on defense, and rebound on both ends of the floor. He has good mobility for his size and is powerful when sealing opposing bigs in transition.
At 6’9″, 250, the Alabama native has decent size, a strong frame, great length and the ability to be a effective screen setter on the perimeter.
Mitchell is ranked 50th in ESPN’s top 100 because of his strength, quickness, athleticism, and tight handles. He is crafty finisher in the paint, who needs to work on the consistency of his jump shot. The Georgia native can also be a force in transition and is a developing player in pick-and-roll situations.
Those two talents will go along with a solid core that the Tigers have been building over the last two years. It consists of 2015 athletic big Horace Spencer, rising sophomore Danjel Purifoy, five-star 2016 recruit Mustapha Heron, four-star 2017 point guard Jared Harper and four-star 2016 power forward Anfernee McLemore.
Pearl was hired at Auburn to make the basketball program relevant nationally. He is an excellent recruiter, but will soon have to develop his talent into victories on the court.
Auburn was 11-20 overall last year and finished just 5-13 in conference play. They are expected to once again be at the bottom of the SEC in 2016-17.
However, it is obvious that Auburn is building a nice core group of players that could compete atop the conference for years to come.