Auburn after elite PF
Bruce Pearl has brought a new attitude to Auburn's basketball recruiting.
No more settling on mid-tier players. Pearl wants the elite. He wants the top-tier.
And that's what Auburn is recruiting.
Assistant Chuck Person was on the road Saturday night evaluating one of the Tigers' top 2017 targets. Person trekked to Atlanta, Ga. to watch Pace Academy sophomore power forward Wendell Carter Jr.
Carter Jr. is one of the nation's top sophomores. He's currently ranked the No. 14 overall prospect in the 2017 class. He's elite.
Carter Jr. played like it with Person in attendance. Carter Jr. scored 20 points and had 18 rebounds in limited action of a 71-51 blowout win over Paideia.
He was dominant, as usual.
"He plays the game hard," Wendell Carter Sr. said. "He loves the game. He's smooth as silk."
Carter Jr. likely will earn scholarships from top programs around the country. Auburn already has extended an offer.
But Carter Jr. isn't in a hurry to start the recruitment phase. Neither is his father. Carter Jr. is only 15 years old and won't turn 16 until April. Yet, he's already 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds.
"There's still a long ways to go," Carter Sr. said. "It's too early to really hang your hat on which schools he's looking at and what kind of decisions he's going to make. So many things can change.
"A lot can happen between now and 2017. When 2015-2016 gets here, he can start narrowing it down and taking visits. Right now, I just want him to be a kid, let him take his time and have fun being young."
Although Carter Jr. isn't focusing on any school at this time, he and his family (both parents played at least one season at Ole Miss) know what they will be looking for in a college.
"We want him to get the best education he can possibly get," Carter Sr. said. "And we want him to be challenged. If we go on a visit and he feels comfortable there, and it's a good program with a good education, then we can sit down and talk about a decision.
"But right now it's too early. There's a lot that can change between now and when it's time for him to sign."
Rivals.com ranks Carter Jr. a four-star prospect and the nation's No. 4 power forward in the 2017 class.