NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Auburn Tigers host several top 2020 prospects

The Daily NCAA Basketball Recruiting Notebook will look a big weekend for the Auburn Tigers along with Sherif Kenney’s commitment to LaSalle, among other items.

The Auburn Tigers took a step towards finalizing their 2019 NCAA Basketball recruiting class while also looking to sort out their 2020 recruiting class this weekend. The Tigers hosted several top soon-to-be high school seniors on June 1, per Pat Weingarten of Stockrisers.  Five-star prospects Sharife Cooper, BJ Boston Jr., and Walker Kessler were among the recruits that were on campus. All three are said to be seriously considering the Tigers.

Cooper is a top-five point guard in the 2020 class and a consensus top-20 player overall. The 6’0″ lead guard has said that he loves coach Bruce Pearl’s system. Cooper is very quick and strong with the basketball. He has the ability to score on all three levels and is an excellent distributor, who can pass on target with either hand.

The Powdered Springs (Ga.) native received several Player of the Year honors last season as he produced 28.6 points, 8.7 assists, six rebounds and 4.1 steals while leading McEachern High School to its first-ever state title. He followed that up with an outstanding spring session in the Nike EYBL, finishing fifth in scoring (25.5) and second in assists (8.0). It is believed that Auburn has the edge over Kentucky in what seemingly is a two-team race for Cooper’s services.

Boston recently cut his college list down to Duke, Florida, Auburn, and Kentucky. A consensus top-11 player in the class, the 6’6″ versatile wing is long and athletic. He is skilled offensively and has the ability to take over a game due to his ability to score on all three levels. The Norcross (Ga.) product has a lot of upside, although he does need to add strength.  Auburn, Duke, and Kentucky are in a battle for his services.

Kessler is also a consensus top-20 recruit. The 7’0″, who was once considering re-classifying to 2019, has a lot of work to due to sort out his options. He has yet to name a finalists list but nine schools are considered to be in the mix for his services — Duke, Virginia, Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky, Michigan, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, and UCLA. The Blue Devils, Bulldogs and Cavaliers are considered to be the favorites.

Three-star Rongie Gordon Jr.  (Montgomery, AL), Colby Jones (Birmingham, AL), and 2021 prospect Jerdarrian Davison ( Letohatchee, AL) also were on a visit. Gordon, who is ranked as the No. 1 player in Alabama by 247Sports, currently has five scholarship offers —   Auburn, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and UAB. He also has drawn interest from Georgia, Texas, Kansas State, and Michigan. Besides Auburn, Gordon has unofficially visited Alabama and Georgia Tech. However, the Tigers appear to be favorite at this point as they have made him a priority.

Pearl’s big weekend started by getting a commitment from JUCO transfer Javon Franklin on Friday. Franklin will have three years of eligibility remaining as he was limited to just one game last season at Holmes CC due to an injury. He averaged 10.8 points on 63.2-percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.5 blocks and a steal per game as a freshman.

The 6’7″, 200-pound redshirt sophomore is extremely athletic who thrives on the defensive end and at rebounding. He is expected to provide depth at both forward spots as senior Daniel Purifoy is the Tigers’ only returnee at those positions. Four-star true freshmen Isaac Okoro and Jaylin Williams, as well as three-star Allen Flanigan are also options. Franklin is the 12th player currently on scholarship for the upcoming season. It remains to be seen if Pearl will add anyone else.

More recruiting tidbits

  • 2019 four-star recruit Sherif Kenney (Upper Marlboro, MD) surprisingly verbally committed to the La Salle Explorers on June 1. The 6’4″ combo guard is thick and powerful which aids him in holding off defenders as well as scoring through contact. He has the ability to create for himself and others while also being able to score from various spots on the court. Kenney, who is expected to make an immediate impact,  is also a solid rebounder. La Salle won the recruiting battle for his services over Arizona State, Boston College, UConn, DePaul, Kansas State, Penn State, Rutgers, and South Florida.
  •   The Houston Cougars offered a scholarship 2021 prospect Justin Rochelin (Northridge, CA) on June 1. The 6’4″ guard averaged 12.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and two steals last season for Heritage Christian. He holds two other offers from Washington State and Oklahoma.
  • The Villanova Wildcats five-star freshman Bryan Antoine underwent successful right shoulder on May 31. He is expected to miss four-to-six months, which means that he could miss the start of the season if his recovery is more in line with the tail end of the timetable. The top-20, who possibly played his senior season at Rainey High School (NJ) with a torn labrum, will be counted on heavily by a rebuilding Wildcats squad.
  • Meanwhile, Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, along with Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree are the veterans now and will be expected to take their game to the next level Coach Jay Wright brought in also landed big men Eric Dixon and Jeremiah Robinson-Earle as part of his 2019 recruiting class. Villanova has one scholarship left and will see whether Wright utilizes it this year.