Mustapha Heron declared for the NBA Draft with the intent to sign an agent this morning.
The guard from Connecticut has started every game at Auburn the last two seasons, where he averaged 15.8 points/5.7 rebounds per game. Heron had an uncanny ability to provide the quietest, easiest looking 20 point games in college basketball at times, and there were moments this past season where you could really see how complete his game was. There were also frustrating times when he would seemingly disappear for halves at a time, especially when Auburn was going through scoring droughts.
Heron certainly had some great highlights from his time at Auburn. Off the top of my head, I think of the outburst this past season where he hung 15 or so points in the first few minutes against LSU, and this devastating dunk in the UGA game in Auburn Arena.
All in all, Mustapha and his 28.6 minutes will be missed. Auburn will likely look to replace him with Desean Murray and Malik Dunbar at the beginning of the 2018 season. Once Purifoy returns, my best guess is that he would transition into the starter’s role there creating a starting 5 of Harper/Brown/Purifoy/McLemore/Wiley (hopefully). This is still a ridiculously deep team next year, and the open scholarship will now allow Bruce to go after another player if he so chooses.
The curious thing about all of this is that Mustapha Heron isn’t listed on too many draft boards at the moment. Whether it was a factor of teams not thinking he would leave Auburn yet, or teams simply not seeing him as a first or second round pick, time will tell.
Of course, we wish Mustapha all of the best in his professional career. There is a real chance he will be Auburn’s first NBA player since Toney Douglas got drafted in 2009. As a matter of fact, Auburn has only had six draft picks since 2000, with Douglas being the only once since 2003. Regardless, Heron coming to Auburn marked the beginning of the turnaround we’ve watched in our program the last two season. He was the first high profile basketball recruit to pick Auburn in a long time, and it has felt like everything has fallen in to place since then.
War Eagle, Mustapha!