Bruce Pearl and Point Guard Cinmeon Bowers met with the media this afternoon. That still feels strange to see. However, it's the case at the moment.
It's also about the best representation of how this basketball season has gone as I can think of. I wrote about the Season of Murphy for football, but perhaps I should have saved that idea for basketball. Similar to football, not all of the issues have been random. Many of them have been self-inflicted.
Let's count down what's happened:
1) Danjel Purifoy isn't cleared.
2) Trayvon Reed is taking a leave of absence for first semester, will redshirt
3) Tahj Shamsid-Deen re-injures his shoulder.
4) Bryce Brown and TJ Lang are injured, too. All three miss the opener.
5) Tahj Shamsid-Deen re-injures his shoulder again.
6) T.J. Dunans gets injured.
7) Tahj Shamsid-Deed is announced as done for the year. T.J. Dunans may be.
8) Cinmeon Bowers is suspended or a game.
9) Kareem Canty is suspended indefinitely.
10) Please don't let it actually get to 10.
We're approaching mid-February and right now Auburn has 5 scholarship players who aren't playing for one reason or another. That's bad. That means when Auburn goes to Tennessee tomorrow night to take on Bruce Pearl's old team, he'll have all of about 7 players to pull from. That's rough. It's particularly rough when one of the players missing is the team's leading scorer in Kareem Canty.
Auburn has eight games remaining in the 2015/16 regular season schedule. What can we expect from those games?
Well, I still think this team is capable of winning games going down the stretch. That's even if Kareem Canty doesn't return (though I honestly think he will). If there's one consistent thing for the Tigers this year it's that for the most part they haven't collapsed in games. They kept fighting hard and against Georgia and LSU they brought the games back into much more respectable margins. The first and second half scoring splits in many of the worst games have been very close in the second half.
This year has been rough. It may get even rougher before it ends. The future is still very bright for Auburn basketball. The Tigers have a coach who is a great motivator and teacher. He's also a helluva recruiter who is seriously increasing the talent level of the team.
This is a cobbled together group right now. When Auburn hits the court tomorrow night, three of the players available will be true freshmen. Two of the other major contributors are a walk-on and a former walk-on. They're still going out there and giving their best for Auburn. Hopefully the fans will continue to show up and give them every bit of support they can no matter who is playing and how they're playing.
A foundation is being built at Auburn for greatness. Just be patient and it's coming.