Auburn basketball recruiting: What’s next?

Auburn secured a commitment from five-star forward Jabari Smith last week, but Auburn might not be done recruiting the 2021 class yet, even though the coaches seem heavily invested in 2022.

2021: With the amount of players Auburn will likely return from this coming season, 2021 has never seemed like a major priority, which let Auburn go all on in guys such as Smith. I could see Auburn trying to ride the momentum of a top five commitment into another commitment. The following targets have Auburn offers and have shown interest in Auburn recently.

Four-star combo guard Trey Alexander

  • Alexander is the target I’ve seen the least of, but it’s obvious Alexander is a scorer. He’s listed as a 6-3 combo guard, but I think he’d fit in Auburn’s two/shooting guard role for now. Alexander needs to add muscle. Oklahoma has been talked about as an early leader, but Alexander said some promising things about Auburn in the past. Look for Auburn to be heavily involved if Alexander cuts his list down again. If not, he might remain an Oklahoma lean until he commits.

Four-star combo guard Wesley Cardet

  • Cardet is a player blowing up in the rankings and when it comes to offers. He’s a big combo guard with great potential on both sides of the court. Shortly after Smith committed, Auburn offered Cardet. Auburn was late to the party compared to some teams, but Auburn coaches have been recruiting players from Cardet’s high school—West Oaks Academy—for several years, with Tyrell Jones being a West Oaks alum and current Auburn player. 

Four-star wing Kaleb Washington

  • Paul Biancardi said on The Jboy Show that he thinks Smith wants to bring Washington with him to Auburn. Washington is an athletic wing who might be more physically ready for college basketball than most recruits with similar rankings. Washington can also shoot threes, start and finish fast breaks and initiate offense. Washington plays at Pebblebrook High School, the same high school Jared Harper played at. Washington is a top 100 recruit on Rivals and sits just outside of 247’s top 100.

Four-star shooting guard Dallan “Deebo” Coleman

2022: This will be an important class for Auburn. If Sharife Cooper, JT Thor and Smith declare for the draft before or after their first year together at Auburn, Auburn will have at least three major holes to fill by 2022. Javon Franklin and Jamal Johnson will also be graduating seniors at that time.

Auburn’s 2022 class is setting up like the 2020 class. Auburn is involved with several of the top five-star players, but also has top 100 caliber offers out as seemingly “backup” plans.

Five-star point guard Scoot Henderson

  • If you follow AU Hoops News here or on Twitter, you’re probably familiar with Henderson. In May, I wrote that Henderson’s recruitment was mirroring Sharife Cooper’s in terms of how invested Auburn was early on. Since then, that report has been all but confirmed by multiple sources. Henderson is an extremely explosive guard who compares his game to Jared Harper’s. While Henderson might not have the range and three point shot that Harper has now, he’s getting there. Henderson has elite size, speed and all-around athleticism for his age and position. Henderson was unstoppable in several tournaments this summer, using his speed and control to dominate in transition. While Henderson might not be as highly ranked (yet) as some of Auburn’s other five-star targets in 2022, he seems to be the highest priority. Auburn is seen as an early leader by many, but if Henderson keeps improving, his recruitment could grow.

Four-star forward Joyful Hawkins

  • Hawkins’ recruitment is similar to Henderson’s, especially when it comes to Auburn’s involvement. Auburn was early on Hawkins, has remained consistent and is seen as an early leader. Hawkins’ and Henderson’s recruitments are both being led by Wes Flanigan and both are AAU teammates and friends. Hawkins is a stretch forward with great athleticism and size for his age. Hawkins can shoot threes and is efficient in the mid range in catch and shoot and face up situations. He also has a few moves such as step backs and pump fakes. Hawkins has great touch around the rim and runs the floor well.

Five-star forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield

  • Kentucky was long rumored the favorite for Huntley-Hatfield, but a falling out with the Wildcats has given teams such as Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee a chance to catch up. Huntley-Hatfield is a do it all forward who can play on the wing, dribble, shoot and defend multiple positions. He was rumored as a reclassification candidate, but the latest reports have Huntley-Hatfield staying in 2022. 

Five-star shooting guard Dariq Whitehead

  • Whitehead is a shooting guard who plays at Montverde. Auburn offered Whitehead on June 15, and he told Tipton Edits that Auburn was one of the schools calling or texting him every day in August. Whitehead also has a connection that could bode well for Auburn if the Tigers turn up the heat, because Whitehead was on an AOT team last summer. While he wasn’t on the team with Cooper, Devan Cambridge and Dylan Cardwell, Whitehead played with Sharife’s brother Omar on his AOT team.

Five-star forward Jarace Walker

  • Walker is a name that has popped up with Auburn interest a few times. He is a physical, athletic small forward who plays at IMG and for the AAU program Team Thrill. In August, Walker told Tipton Edits that he was being prioritized by Auburn and others. Walker’s game is similar to a more complete version of Isaac Okoro‘s at that age. While Walker has the strength, athleticism and know how to lock players down, he also has an offensive skill set that makes him a top 10 player.

Four-star guard Nick Smith

  • Smith is a dynamic guard in 2022. He can score from anywhere and has a smooth and well rounded game. Early on, teams such as Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn were heavily involved, and Smith is even seeing interest from schools such as Kentucky now. Smith will likely rise through the rankings even more before he makes any decisions.

Four-star wing Barry Dunning Jr

  • Dunning plays at McGill-Toolen in Mobile, Alabama. Dunning started out as a top 30 five star in 2022’s initial rankings and currently sits just outside of 2022’s five-star range at No. 35. Auburn was Dunning’s second offer, following South Alabama. Dunning is a well rounded player with good size, great length and athleticism. Dunning has a good shot and is an above average midrange scorer who also contributes on defense with his length and things like chase down blocks.

Four-star forward Chauncey Wiggins

  • Wiggins is a long power forward out of Grayson High School near Atlanta. Wiggins was originally in the class of 2023 and is young for his class, and he still has time to improve. Wiggins, Dunning and Henderson all visited Auburn for the 2020 basketball game against Kentucky.

Three-star guard Mason Manning

  • Manning is an underrated guard who Auburn showed early interest in. Manning has shown interest back, even calling Auburn “basically Guard U” in an interview with Jacob Polacheck of ZagsBlog. Manning should rise through the rankings with less high level players ahead of him this year on his high schools roster.

Unranked guard Jayden Lemond

  • Lemond is even more under the radar than guys such as Manning at this point. Auburn showed interest in Lemond throughout the summer and pulled the trigger on an offer Aug. 27.

It’s early and Auburn is casting a large net in 2022. While I expect the first three or four—and definitely the first two—to remain Auburn priorities, the list is destined to move around between now and when Auburn’s 2022 class starts coming together. 

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