A few weeks back, I sent out a ballot to the masses asking you to vote for your Auburn Basketball All-Decade team. The program has come a long way in the last decade, and I thought it would be a fun idea to look back and think about those that have gotten us where we are today. So before we get started, thank you all for helping me and voting on this. I received over 300 ballots from y’all, so hopefully this creates results we can all (mostly) agree on.
Without further ado!
FIRST TEAM ALL-DECADE
- G Bryce Brown (99.4%) - 2015-2019, 2019 SEC Tourny MVP, 1x All-SEC 1st Team, 1x All-SEC 2nd Team, 97 starts, 18.4 pts/2.8 reb per 40 min, 39.2% from 3
- G Jared Harper (98.5%) - 2016-2019, 104 starts, 2x All-SEC 2nd Team, 18.2 pts/6.5 ast/3.2 reb per 40 min
- G KT Harrell (94.1%) - 2013-2015, 65 starts, 22.4 pts/4.2 reb per 40 min
- F Chuma Okeke (98.5%) - 2017-2019, 38 starts, 16th overall pick in 2019 NBA Draft, 15.5 pts/9.9 reb per 40 min
- F Anfernee McLemore (76.2%) - 2016-Present, 56 starts, 14.6 pts/9.9 reb/3.4 blk per 40 min
I’m not sure there are many surprises here. I think Jared, Bryce, and Chuma were always going to be a lock, and I was pretty sure KT would be as well. I wasn’t as sure about Anfernee, but I think between his dominant run in SEC play in 2018 and how solid of a contributor he’s been his whole career, he won enough votes with that.
Bryce Brown pulled in all but 2 votes (trolls), and I’m totally on board with him being the highest vote getter. He’s second all time in made 3’s in the SEC, and was a senior leader on the Final Four team. He (along with Horace and Danjel) were a part of Bruce’s first full class at Auburn, and so those guys all deserve credit for helping turn the program into what it is today. Bryce, specifically, had a long road ahead of him when he came in as a freshman. Despite being a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, everyone and their mother saw he had issues staying locked into games when he wasn’t playing well. A light clicked for him, though, and he went from a untrustworthy shooter to one of the most productive players in the conference and a fan favorite.
A case can be made that Jared Harper was the best point guard in Auburn history. He’s one of three guys in the 1,000 point/500 assist club for Auburn, and, like Bryce, he lead the team to the top from nothing. He was the on-court leader of his teams that won two SEC titles and went to a Final Four. His short stature and break-neck style of play, including hitting 3-point shots from the logo like Steph Curry, earned him the love of Auburn fans across the country.
Because you can’t talk about Bryce without talking about the Jared, here’s two games worth of highlights where the both of them went off. They were pretty special games, too.
KT Harrell, the only guy that made 1st Team that wasn’t on last year’s squad, was by far the best player on the early Bruce Pearl teams. He started every game after he transferred over from Virginia, and was one of the premier scorers in the conference in his time. When Auburn basketball was very much a bad product, he made games interesting against teams Auburn had no business beating. In his senior year alone, he scored 20+ points 18 times! His 43% shooting from 3 in 2014-15 was insane, and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see him play with a better supporting cast. If he had been on one of Bruce’s current Auburn teams, he would have been a superstar.
KT Harrell didn’t get a chance to play in many big moments for Auburn, but there will always be the 2015 SEC Tournament. Auburn, the #13 seed, was playing #4 LSU in the quarterfinals in one of the best pre-2017 basketball games of Bruce’s tenure. In a game where KT Harrell showed out with 29 points, he also did this:
Chuma is on this list because of his insane run at the end of last season, and for becoming the first Auburn basketball player drafted in 15+ years. He was so ridiculously dominant in the NCAA Tournament, and it’s a shame he got hurt when he did. I really think Auburn wins a title if he’s healthy. In the three tournament games he played in, he averaged 15 pts/7 reb/2 ast, and he was the best player on the court in every game. Even before the tournament run, Chuma was locked in a way nobody had seen in Auburn in a long time. From the January 16th through the end of the year, Okeke was in double figures in 20 of 23 games. Two of the three games he wasn’t, he had 9 points, and the run included six double-doubles. It’s a shame that we may not have ever gotten to see Chuma peak at Auburn, but he was a major factor in getting the program into its first ever Final 4. I for one can’t wait to see where his NBA career takes him.
Here’s the moment where Chuma went from “hey guys he’s really good!” to “he’s the best player on the court from now on”
Lastly, the only first-teamer still on the team, Anfernee McLemore. He’s certainly the least-decorated of the five, but he’s been a steady force his entire career, even his freshman year. Although he was overshadowed by two mega-recruits in his signing class (Mustapha Heron and Austin Wiley), he’s been a key contributor for his entire career. The run he went on in 2017-18 was one I will never forget. With Wiley and Purifoy ineligible and Auburn becoming a ridiculously small team overnight, McLemore stepped up to become a dominant “big” for a team that had none. Not only did the 6’7” sophomore gobble up rebounds and record blocks in bunches, but he found a three-point stroke* that made him deadly on the offensive end, shooting 39% that season. His injury in the South Carolina game at the tail end of the season broke everyone’s hearts, and losing him started a tail-spin that the team couldn’t pull out of.
In the game before his injury, McLemore was in peak form. Here’s him posting a double-double in Auburn’s win over Kentucky to Auburn’s record to 23-3.
SECOND TEAM ALL-DECADE
- G Frankie Sullivan (59.4%) - 2008-2013, 91 starts, 3 year captain, 9th all-time leading scorer at Auburn, 16.6 pts/4.6 reb per 40 min
- G Chris Denson (50.2%) - 2016-2019, 49 starts, 19.1 pts/4.4 reb per 40 min
- F Mustapha Heron (61.6%) - 2016-2018, 64 starts, 2017-18 2nd Team All-SEC, 2016-17 Freshman All-SEC, 22.3 pts/8.4 reb per 40 min,
- Point God Cinmeon Bowers (55.7%) - 2014-2016, 54 starts, 15.5 pts/13.1 reb per 40 min, 28 career double doubles
- F Kenny Gabriel (52.6%) - 2009-2012, 50 starts. 15.4 pts/8.9 reb per 40 min