Pearl Getting to Know Tigers at Summer Drills

Coach Bruce Pearl discusses the Auburn basketball team's summer workouts as he prepares for his first season as head coach of the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's new men's head basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, says he likes the rule that allows college coaches to get on the court with their players for limited workouts in the summer.

Pearl is using the time to get to know the players he inherited after taking over from Tony Barbee, who was fired by Auburn in March after four disappointing seasons on the job.

Pearl and his entire staff can work with the players just like they can doing the regular season, except the limit of team practice time is eight hours per week.

"For me it is a tremendous advantage because I have been out of coaching for three seasons and I am as rusty as anybody out there putting in our stuff," he said after putting the Tigers through two-on-two, three-on-three and five-on-five drills at Auburn Arena on Wednesday.

While noting that teaching basketball is like "riding a bike" for him, he adds that the summer sessions are helping him get back into his coaching groove.

"It has been really good," Pearl said. "I think the NCAA was really smart in allowing us to have this summer time. I know eight hours a week is not a lot, but that is just with the coaches there and the players can do a lot of things on their own."

Pearl notes this is a time of year players can focus on individual skills as well as strength and conditioning before the regular team practice schedule begins in mid-October.

"The players are in summer school so it is not like they are in class 16 hours (a week) like they are during the regular season so they have time to work on their bodies and work on their games," the coach says.

"Then, for me, bringing in a new system, it is good for them to get a taste and a feel in the summer time what I might be asking them to do so they can get themselves ready for the traditional start of practices on Oct. 15th," Pearl adds.

Two members of Auburn's recruiting class who arrived on campus early are joining the returnees in the workouts–spring signee guard/forward T.J. Lang from McGill-Toolen High in Mobile and November signee Jack Purchase, a forward from Melbourne, Australia.

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