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Position Breakdown: Shooting Guards

These two will be a whole lot of fun to watch this year!

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we kicked off our week-long series by looking at Auburn’s Point Guards. Today, we’re going to move on to the Shooting Guards, Bryce Brown and Samir Doughty.

#2 Bryce Brown - Senior, 6’3”, 198 pounds, Stone Mountain, Georgia

To answer the question of how good is Bryce Brown: he’s pretty darn good. The leading returning scorer from last year’s team, he had an incredible junior season for Auburn. Bryce was a 1st Team all-SEC Player according to the Associated Press and 2nd Team All-SEC Player voted on by the coaches (I still haven’t figured out why). As did Jared Harper and Austin Wiley, Brown put his name into the NBA Draft before electing to come back for his final year at Auburn.

Other than the one game he missed due to a shoulder injury, Bryce started every other game last year. He more than doubled his scoring average from 7.5 his sophomore year to 15.9 his junior year. Brown did this while shooting 40% from the field and 38.2% from 3-point range. He shot that well from 3-point range despite attempting 280 3-pointers, more than 100 more than the next closest player on the team.

Over Bryce Brown’s first two seasons at Auburn, he was thought of primarily as a 3-point shooter. He took 74% of his shots from that distance in his sophomore season. While this is still mostly true, that number came down to 66.5% last year. While this may not seem like a significant drop-off, his all-around offensive game drastically improved and he got to the free throw line much more last year as a result. Over his career, Bryce was 56-73 in his first 2 seasons in Auburn at the free throw line. Last year, he was 79-102, good enough for 77.5%. His willingness to drive to the paint more often was first evidenced on opening night last season when he scored a career high 31 points against Norfolk State. While he was 12-16 from the field that night, he made 8 of those 12 shots from inside the 3-point line.

There were several nights throughout the season when Brown carried the team. When Brown scored at least 13 points in SEC play, the Tigers were 12-0. They were 0-5 when he scored 12 or less. He scored 27 against UAB in a 5 point win, 23 in the program’s first win at Mississippi State since 2009, 28 in the home game against Georgia, 23 at Ole Miss, 25 against Vanderbilt in the team’s first win over the Commodores since 2007, and quite honestly, saved his best for last when he scored 29 points (8-12 from 3-point range) in the SEC clinching victory in the regular season finale against South Carolina.

I can say this for most of the team at the end of the year but Brown didn’t shoot the ball well in either St. Louis or San Diego. While Bryce managed to score in double figures in each of the final 3 games, he did it on just 11-36 shooting, including 7-27 from 3-point range.

One of the other strengths of Bryce is his defense. Brown would routinely guard the opponent’s best players, and for the most part, would hold them in check. With Auburn’s team defense a question mark this year, I think Brown’s defense will be even more important than his ability to score.

I’ll go ahead and go out a limb and say that Bryce will be end up being Auburn’s leading scorer again this season. If he continues to shoot the 3 ball as well as he did last year, and play great defense against the SEC’s best guards, then hopefully the coaches won’t leave him off of their 1st-Team All SEC ballots once again.

#10 Samir Doughty - Junior, 6’4”, 195 pounds, Philadelphia, Transfer from VCU

This could be the guy that everyone looks back in a few months and realizes how good he is.

Wonder why?

According to Bruce Pearl, the team he plays on in practices are the teams that usually win. Doughty will have a huge role in this team. What exact role it will be, remains to be seen. While I have Doughty featured in the shooting guards, he could also play a bit of point guard if necessary, OR if Bruce decides to go small, he could slide over to the 3 alongside Jared and Bryce. He could very easily start at the 3 while Danjel Purifoy sits out the first 9 games of the year (more on him tomorrow). If not, he’s a valuable asset coming off the bench for Bruce Pearl’s team. The Philadelphia native transferred to Auburn after 1 year at VCU and I can only imagine how anxious he is to be back on the court after sitting out last year. He was a part of one heckuva scout team with Purifoy and Austin Wiley, which without a doubt made last year’s Auburn team better.

While Samir only played 1 year in Richmond, he redshirted for a season which means he only has 2 years of eligibility left here in Auburn. As a redshirt freshman in 2016-2017, Doughty was the team’s 4th leading scorer averaging 9 points and 3.5 rebounds a game while starting 15 of the team’s 35 games. He had the highest scoring average for a VCU freshman in nearly 20 seasons. He shot 35% from 3-point range in Atlantic 10 and postseason play that season. He was able to get a bit of experience playing for Auburn on their trip to Italy last summer as he averaged 6 points a game over 3 games in Europe.

Most media outlets consider Samir to be one of the top newcomers, especially via the transfer market, in the SEC. I think he can easily be a double digit scorer in this conference and create matchup nightmares in the backcourt. The quartet of Harper, Brown, Doughty and McCormick have the ability to be one of the best backcourts in the SEC, as well as the country.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow we will transition to the forwards on this team by looking at the Shooting Forwards. War Eagle!