Auburn missed out on a top-tier recruit Tuesday, as four-star power forward Jordan Bell committed to Oregon. Bell would have been the fifth class of 2013 player to commit to Auburn and the third in three days.
Poly's Jordan Bell chooses Oregon! Big get for the Ducks!— GazettesSports (@GazettesSports) November 13, 2012
A 6'7, 205-pound product of Long Beach, Calif., Bell had a host of offers. In addition to Oregon and Auburn, he was recruited by UConn, Arizona, UCLA, Washington, San Diego State, USC. Bell visited Auburn over the weekend and took in the Tigers' 61-50 win over IPFW Friday night. Prior to the visit, Bell was a solid lean toward Oregon, but he was surprised at how much he liked Auburn ($):
"This decision is hard. When I got here, I was kind of mad because I didn't realize how hard it was going to be. I was thinking, 'Oh yeah, Oregon is going to win. They have all this new stuff.' But Auburn's stuff is just as good. The community is just as nice."
Bell added that he enjoyed spending time with Auburn's current players and could see himself fitting in with his potential future teammates. He even made the obligatory "family" reference:
"I hung out with the players a lot. They're really cool," he said. "I shouldn't have a problem playing with them if I decide to come here. It's a real family community. It was nice overall."
Bell is the type of player that would have been able to come in and make an immediate impact next season. It hurts to miss out on such a great talent, but the fact that Auburn was a finalist speaks volumes. Head coach Tony Barbee has the Tigers competing for players that never would have considered moving to the Plains in the past. If he continues to build momentum for the program, it's only a matter of time before some of these players pick Auburn.