#33 Auburn Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Auburn Tigers
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
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Auburn had to deal with a lot of turnover this offseason following a disappointing 13-14 record. The Tigers were not that far off from a Final Four appearance so not many expected the team to fall below .500. But despite those losses, Coach Bruce Pearl has brought in enough talent for this group to quickly put last year behind them and make another run in the NCAA Tournament.
2020-21 Record: 13-14, 7-11
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Bruce Pearl
Coach Record: 138-92 at Auburn, 600-237 overall
Key Departed Players:
Sharife Cooper, Guard, 20.2 ppg
Justin Powell, Guard, 11.7 ppg
JT Thor, Forward, 9.4 ppg
Jamal Johnson, Guard, 9.4 ppg
Tyrell Jones, Guard, 3.3 ppg
Javon Franklin, Forward, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Allen Flanigan, Junior, Guard, 14.3 ppg
Jaylin Williams, Junior, Forward, 10.9 ppg
Devan Cambridge, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg
Dylan Cardwell, Sophomore, Center, 3.8 ppg
Chris Moore, Sophomore, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Babatunde Akingbola, Junior, Center, 1.9 ppg
Lior Berman, Junior, Guard, 1.2 ppg
Key New Players:
Wendell Green Jr, Sophomore, Guard, transfer from Eastern Kentucky
Zep Jasper, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Charleston
K.D. Johnson, Sophomore, Guard
Walker Kessler, Sophomore, Forward/Center, Transfer from North Carolina
Jabari Smith, Freshman, Forward
Michael Whitmore, Sophomore, Guard, JC Transfer
Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams and Devan Cambridge are a solid returning trio to work around. Flanigan is a very dangerous offensive weapon and can attack the basket with ease and knock down plenty of long balls. Cambridge had a decent sophomore season and started 19 games, but he will need to be more efficient shooting the ball. Williams, a 6-8 forward, started all 27 games and averaged 10.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He has the talent to take another big step forward as a junior. Walker Kessler is the most intriguing transfer. The 7-1 center only averaged 8.8 minutes per game as a freshman at North Carolina, but he looked pretty good in those limited minutes. Wendell Green Jr. and Zep Jasper were both big time scorers at their respective mid-major programs and will now hope to keep scoring at Auburn. Green averaged 15.8 points and 5.0 assists at Eastern Kentucky as a freshman and has a ton of potential. Jasper has been a starter at Charleston for the better part of three seasons and had a breakout junior year, averaging 15.6 points per game. Incoming freshman Jabari Smith is a 6-10 forward who has the skill to play inside and out. That makes him a great fit for Auburn and as long as he can prove that he is tough enough for the SEC, Smith will make a big impact right away. The Tigers have to do a bit more reshuffling than some other teams, but after a disappointing campaign, that is not necessarily a terrible thing. Once Coach Pearl gets all of the pieces fitting together, this will be an NCAA Tournament team.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (44th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.4 (294, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (190, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (197, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (35, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.6 (226, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (178, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (82, 4)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (69, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.3 (324, 13)
Madness 2022 NBA Draft Rankings:
#4 Jabari Smith
#37 Allen Flanigan
#42 Walker Kessler
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Jabari Smith