Auburn coaches busy recruiting 2022

Colleges basketball coaches were allowed to begin contacting recruits from the class of 2022 at 12 a.m. June 15, and Auburn coaches contacted at least 17 different players and several five stars.

With the amount of talented freshmen and sophomores on next year’s Auburn team, the class of 2022 projects as an important one for Auburn, and Auburn seemed to check in on a few early priorities and add a few new targets to the list on June 15.

The following players have been contacted and/or offered by Auburn coaches since 12 a.m. June 15:

Jarace Walker – Five star small forward, No.8 overall
Auburn contacted Walker June 15, but has reportedly not offered him yet. Walker plays at IMG Academy in Florida and already holds offers from schools such as Florida, Maryland, Arkansas, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

Auburn coaches reportedly watched Walker at least once last AAU season.

Jaden Bradley – Five star guard, No.9 overall
Bradley’s first offer came from Auburn, and Bruce Pearl has shown he can stick around until the end when he offers highly touted targets early on in their recruitment process.

Bradley last visited Auburn for the home basketball game against Kentucky in February, and was one of the first players Auburn was reported to have contacted on June 15.

Brandon Miller – Five star small forward, No.11
Auburn reached out to Miller, but the Tigers do not seem to have offered yet and have seemingly never contacted Miller before. Miller also heard from Florida, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Memphis and Georgetown.

Dariq Whitehead – Five star shooting guard, No.14
Whitehead played for Montverde Academy last high school season and with the Athletes of Tomorrow (AOT) last AAU season. Auburn’s connection to AOT (where Sharife Cooper, Devan Cambridge, Dylan Cardwell, Babatunde Akingbola and Isaac Okoro played) could help. Auburn contacted and offered Whitehead June 15.

Zion Cruz – Five star guard, No.20 overall
Auburn offered Cruz in July of 2019 and traveled to New Jersey to visit Cruz in September. Outside of that, not much has been reported on Auburn’s interest in Cruz. But for a 2022 recruit, an early Auburn offer, already receiving an Auburn visit and being an early June 15 call could make Cruz someone to keep an eye on.

Chance Westry – Four star guard, No.27
Westry was another one of the first targets who was reported to have been contacted by Auburn June 15.

In January, Corey Evans of Rivals reported that Westry was getting a lot of attention from Auburn. Auburn contacted him and offered him a scholarship June 15, so Westry could be another target to keep an eye on.

Bruce Thornton – Four star guard, No.30
Thornton is an UGA legacy, but Auburn almost landed an UGA legacy in 2020 with Walker Kessler, so that doesn’t mean all is lost.

Thornton last visited Auburn in January.

Nick Smith – Four star shooting guard, No.44
Auburn reached out to Smith, and has already offered him. Smith plays at Sylvan Hills in Arkansas, and Auburn has recruited the state of Arkansas well since adding Assistant Coach Wes Flanigan.

Smith visited Auburn for the Tigers’ home basketball game against Kentucky in February. Flanigan has also traveled to Arkansas to visit Smith at least once, so Smith could be a player to keep an eye on.

Jameel Brown – Four star guard, No.71
Brown was contacted and offered by Auburn June 15, but has not been reported to have received much interest from Auburn outside of that.

Corey Floyd Jr – Three star guard, No.78
Floyd was offered by Auburn in August of 2019, and Auburn contacted him June 15. Floyd also earned an offer from Seton Hall and heard from schools such as Miami, Georgia, Villanova and Ohio State on the same day.

Joyful Hawkins – Three star forward, unranked
Hawkins is rumored to have Auburn towards the top of his list and vice versa.

Hawkins missed his sophomore season of high school, but was the Region 2-6A Player of the Year as a freshman at Brunswick High School in Georgia. Hawkins might be unranked, but he definitely seems like a player Auburn fans should keep an eye on.

Ben Middlebrooks – Three star forward, No.105
Middlebrooks is listed as a three star, but received interest from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and others June 15, when Auburn offered him.

Avion Pinner – Forward, unranked
Pinner is an unranked player who heard from Auburn June 15. In addition to Auburn, Pinner heard from North Carolina State, Appalachian State, Eastern Carolina, Charlotte and others, so he could be an under the radar target to keep an eye on.

Zaharee Maddox – Guard, unranked
Maddox is a point guard out of North Carolina, and like Pinner, he could be an under the radar target to keep an eye. Maddox also heard from Appalachian State, Hampton, North Carolina A&T and others.

Other recruits contacted by Auburn since 12 a.m. June 15: Chandler Jackson, Deante Green, Mark Armstrong.

Players missing:

Scoot Henderson – Five star guard, No.16
Auburn didn’t make any “noise” at midnight, and it was reported that schools such as Alabama and Georgia contacted other targets at midnight, so there is a chance Auburn contacting Henderson went unreported.

However, Auburn coaches frequented Kell’s games last season, and as AU Hoops News reported earlier, Henderson has spent his off season working out with players such as former Auburn guards Jared Harper and Davion Mitchell. I still suspect Henderson is one of (if not the) top target for Auburn in 2022.

Barry Dunning Jr – Four star small forward, No.31
Dunning plays at McGill Toolen in Mobile, Alabama and has been an Auburn target for a long time. Dunning spoke highly of Auburn and Alabama in an interview with Stockrisers published May 25 and visited Auburn (and Alabama) recently, so it would make sense for Auburn to still be heavily involved.

Photo: Max Hrdlicka and Joyful Hawkins at mid court with Bruce Pearl.