AUBURN | A total of 34 scouts from 24 NBA teams were represented at Auburn basketball’s first Pro Day. They watched as the Tigers went through a typical two-hour practice, which concluded with a scrimmage.
The only teams not represented at the event were the Grizzlies, Raptors, Pacers. Trailblazers and 76ers and Celtics.
The idea behind basketball Pro Days started at Kentucky several years ago and has spread to many other college programs. One NBA scout, who chose to remain anonymous, said this was his first visit to Auburn and one of his colleagues, who had been in the business more than 25 years, had never previously visited.
Wade Rackley/Auburn athletics
The scout said it was a plus being able to evaluate the players in a practice environment and seeing how they interacted with their coaches, teammates and managers.
Bruce Pearl, Auburn’s fourth-year head coach, was understandably pleased with the turnout.
“We’ve never had a Pro Day here because we’ve never had this number of guys that need to be evaluated,” Pearl said. “The words I got was they liked how hard they played, how much they competed, how unselfish they were, the size of some of the guys that have filled out. And they paid close attention to progress.
“One of the things I told the players is you can play your way off their roster today but you’re not going to play your way on anyone’s roster. Even if you don’t have a great day today and they come back in a month or two, they need to see progress because they’re drafting on potential, not just productivity.”
** Sophomore center Austin Wiley has missed the first two weeks of preseason practice due to discomfort in his left leg.
“He’s still dealing with a stress reaction,” Pearl said. “I’d say probably two more weeks is what they’re talking about. He’s having really good healing. I think right now he feels a lot better. He’s not in any pain. He’s just got to let that thing continue to heal and he should be good to go in a couple of weeks.
** Pearl was asked about standouts during Wednesday’s practice.
“I thought Horace (Spencer)’s physicality stood out,” he said. “I haven’t studied all the stats yet. Danjel (Purifoy) shot it really well. I thought Mustapha (Heron) did what he did, in particular he didn’t try to do too much. He just played well. I thought Desean (Murray) continues to show he does things to help his team win in a bing way.
“I'm not sure I can pick five guys right now and guarantee that those five guys are the guys I need to pick. There’s a lot of parity out there, a lot of depth.”