Bruce Pearl says 'overlooked' Tigers still have 'unfinished business' heading into 2018-19 season
The Auburn Tigers won a share of the SEC regular-season title last year, and return most of the key players from that squad.
However, according to coach Bruce Pearl, the Tigers still feel disrespected and overlooked. Perhaps that comes from players who tested the NBA Draft waters not getting much buzz, or perhaps it’s from analysts picking Kentucky and Tennessee to finish ahead of them this year.
Whatever the case, Pearl said on Thursday during a coaches teleconference that the Tigers feel they have some unfinished business heading into the 2018-19 season (via 247Sports):
“I watched [Harper] in some NBA workout situations and I’ve seen him night in and night out,” Pearl said. “He’s smaller against anybody he goes up against and often times he wins his position, he wins his battle. He won it most nights in the SEC and yet he’s overlooked because he’s 5-(foot)-10 or 5-11. Bryce Brown, same thing. He’s been overlooked his whole career. He’s hungry. He feels like he has unfinished business. Neither one of those guys got drafted.
“Austin Wiley, didn’t play last year, got his eligibility back, is in good standing, tested the (NBA) waters, was told he wasn’t going to be a first-round pick and I think he made a very wise decision to get into the first round next year. He’s got unfinished business. Danjel Purifoy, also ineligible last year, also has unfinished business. (Guard) Samir Doughty sat out, he redshirted, so you follow what I’m saying? I think there are a lot of guys on our roster that are hungry. (Guard) Malik Dunbar would like to try to have a different role on this team. (Forward) Chuma Okeke is a sophomore, did a phenomenal job, won us a lot of games, fit in really well and is now going to play a more dominant role. (Forward) Anfernee McLemore’s best Division I offers were the Ivy League and MIT, so he’s hungry and has unfinished business.
“We don’t mind stating that.”
Indeed, the Tigers will have plenty of motivation moving into the season, and they have the talent to make some noise in the SEC.
Pearl is pressing all the right buttons with his squad, and he’ll have them ready to play this fall.