Pearl Believes In "Annoying" Style of Play

Basketball coach Bruce Pearl talks about the style of play he will bring to Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.--Bruce Pearl, who is in his second week on the job as the new head basketball coach of the Auburn Tigers, said fans can expect his teams to play aggressively starting with the 2014-15 season.

"Basically, we are going to be up-tempo," he said. "We are going to press. If it suits us to speed you up or slow you down that is what we are going to do with a full-court press.

"We are an annoying team to play," he pointed out. "We don't run the same offense that every team runs. We try to run different things. We are multiple defensively."

Pearl has been given the assignment of turning around an Auburn team that finished 14-16 this season, the fifth straight season the Tigers finished under .500.

In his 19 years as a college head coach all of Pearl's teams finished with winning records. He has an overall winning percentage of .761 (462-165).

Pearl pointed out that one of the major reasons for the success of his teams is their style of play. "I don't want to run the same stuff everybody else is running," he said.

The coach also noted that he believes strongly in playing his reserves.

"We will try to wear people down," he said. "I am not playing five or six guys. I am going to play eight, nine even 10 players on a regular basis and it might a little ugly, it might be a little sloppy.

"We will practice that way," he pointed out. "It might be a little helter-skelter, but we are comfortable in it because that is how we play every night and the opponent might not necessarily be. We are just going to try to make the opponent uncomfortable."

Pearl takes over for Tony Barbee, who was fired after Auburn's opening round SEC Tournament loss to South Carolina. Barbee was head coach of the Tigers the past four seasons.

"We are going to rebound, we are going to run, we are going to get down the floor and put pressure on defenses," Pearl said on his coaching style.

"I also like to give our players freedom in the offense early (in the shot clock sequence). That encourages them to try to make plays defensively. I want to be aggressive in the passing lanes because turnovers mean transition and they know they have freedom.

"When all five guys are back (in the offensive court) that is when the offense comes back to me and then we are going to run some stuff," the coach added.

"We are going to be patient. We are not going to settle. If the opponent doesn't break down in that continuity, late in the clock we will get the ball back to our point guard and we will run stuff they can't guard. That is my offensive philosophy."

On the recruiting front the coach noted that he believes in focusing on prospects who are live relatively near to his school's campus. "I like to recruit close to home because good kids have got families that want to come see them play and that is part of the reason," he said.

He noted that with Auburn's close proximity to the talent-rich Atlanta metro, and his staff's success recruiting in that area when he was the head coach at Tennessee, the Tigers will be looking for talent in that area.

"Atlanta has got great coaching, there are lot of players and we have got a great alumni base in Atlanta," he said. "Atlanta is still SEC country, it is not ACC country. That is where we are going to focus a big part of our efforts."

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