Football got you down? Never fear, basketball is getting closer!
So last week, we looked at how I think the SEC will shake up this season.
This week, in order to help you get through the week, we’re going to take a look at the roster and have a daily breakdown of the team by position. Auburn has some incredible depth on this year’s version of the team. Auburn is expected to play 10 guys this year and can go 2 deep at every position.
With that being said, we will focus on 2 guys, at their primary position, each day this week. We will start today by looking at the Auburn Point Guards.
#1 Jared Harper - Junior, 5’11”, 175 pounds, Mableton, Georgia
After flirting with the NBA this past offseason, Jared Harper returns for his 3rd season in Auburn. In his sophomore season, Harper was a 2nd Team all-SEC performer and is considered the “Quarterback” of the team by Bruce Pearl. A lot of Harper’s success last year was credited to his work in the previous offseason with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Harper can shoot it with confidence anywhere on the floor and isn’t shy about doing it either.
Jared Harper from Toomer’s Corner pic.twitter.com/0lUqNtIEeo— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) February 22, 2018
And then he can also do things like this (40 second mark)....
Harper started every game for the Tigers last year and his numbers increased in every major statistical category from his freshmen year to his sophomore season. He averaged 13.2 points per game (2nd amongst returning players), and 5.4 assists per game last year. His assists numbers last year nearly doubled from the 3 he averaged his freshmen year. With the talent returning this year, especially on the interior, I can easily see Harper averaging 6-7 assists a game this year. Another big development in his game last year was his improved free throw shooting. Auburn was one of the most improved free throw shooting teams in the country last year and part of the reason for that was Harper’s increase from 70% in 2016-2017 to 82.2% last season. In addition, Harper was also a 35.5% 3-point shooter.
Harper scored 20 or more points in five games last season and scored in double figures in all but 1 SEC game last season. Two of his best performances last year came against Vanderbilt and Georgia. In the Vanderbilt game on February 3rd, Harper had 14 points and dished out a career high 14 assists in a 93-81 win over the Commodores. In the Georgia game in Athens on February 10th, Harper played a season high 38 minutes, tied his career high with 24 points and had 7 assists in a 78-61 win over the Bulldogs. Harper stepped up big in that game with the absence of Bryce Brown as well as his motivation of playing in his home state.
Harper has some unfinished business to attend to after not finishing the season the way he probably would have liked. He had a rough time in the SEC Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament. Over the last 3 games, Harper shot a combined 5-30 with a total of 18 points in those contests. Harper dealt with severe foul trouble against the College of Charleston and made 1 shot in that game. But it was a big one to say the least.. (skip to 2:30 to see what I’m talking about)
Overall, look for Harper to build off of last season and have an even better season this year for Auburn. Perhaps Harper becomes more of a distributor this season, but I feel like he can also go out and get 20+ on any given night if that’s what’s needed out of him.
#12 J’Von McCormick - Junior, 6’0”, 175 pounds, Katy, Texas
With Davion Mitchell electing to transfer to Baylor after his 1 season in Auburn, the Tigers were looking for some additional depth in the offseason at the point guard spot.
Enter J’Von McCormick.
McCormick was one of the best point guards available on the Junior College market and he is the new guy on this year’s squad. McCormick is the only player on Auburn’s roster expected to play regularly that wasn’t in Auburn last year. J’Von went to high school in Katy, Texas before spending the last 2 years at Lee Junior College in Baytown, Texas. Despite scoring over 2,000 points in high school, McCormick spent his first 2 years of college at the JUCO level. After averaging only 5 points his freshmen year, McCormick burst onto the scene last year by averaging 18.5 points, 6.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game for the Runnin’ Rebels. He shot 42.8% from the floor last year, and 36% from 3-Point range. He’s also been labeled as a quick guard and a tough competitor which should allow to fit in well with this Auburn team. McCormick gives Bruce Pearl another option in the backcourt and will allow Jared Harper to get a break from time to time while McCormick manages the point.
Tune in tomorrow for a look at Auburn’s Shooting Guards and all week as we preview the 2018-2019 Auburn roster. We are just 22 days away from Tip-Off. War Eagle!!