5-Star Wiley On Auburn Trip: "It Was Amazing"

Five-star 2017 hoops prospect Austin Wiley talks about his weekend trip to Auburn, what stands out about the Tigers, his rehab from injury and more.

Birmingham, Ala.--A five-star prospect and one of the top 2017 basketball recruits in the country, big man Austin Wiley has had strong ties to the Auburn Tigers his entire life with parents Aubrey Wiley and Vickie Orr-Wiley both former basketball standouts on the Plains. That may not have been enough to grab his attention in the recruiting process several years ago, however, but the energy surrounding Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers has him excited about what he sees from the program.

That was never more evident than this weekend when Wiley was part of a basketball style version of football's Big Cat Weekend at Auburn along with just over a dozen top prospects. Taking a page from the football program, the basketball coaches got the players together for a relaxed weekend of games to allow everyone the chance to get to know each other better. That was important for Wiley to be a part of, something he wasn’t sure he would ever see at Auburn.

“It was amazing,” Wiley said. “They brought down some of the top players in the country and mostly from the southeast region and showed us around. We got to eat well, they fed us good. I got to see some things I haven’t seen before, like the jets (Auburn University jets). It was good, just amazing.”

Already with a strong bond with Pearl, Chuck Person and the rest of the Auburn staff, Wiley said his feelings about what is going on with the Tigers is something he sees and hears from other top recruits as well. Seeing five-star commitments and recruits mentioning Auburn more and more, Wiley said it’s just a sign of what’s to come.

“It’s great because it shows that I’m not the only one feeling them,” Wiley said. “I’m not the only one that thinks it’s a family atmosphere. It’s for everybody, not just me.”

Wiley and his parents

Narrowing his list to a top eight this week with Auburn, Alabama, Duke, Florida, Kansas, LSU, Mississippi State and UAB in the group, Wiley said right now he’s still taking things very slowly and has no timetable to make a final decision at the moment.

“How I did it was I cut it down to 13 earlier, like a month or two ago, then I made my decision to cut it down to eight,” Wiley said. “Those eight schools, I talk to the coaches almost every day or at least once or twice a week. They talk to me and encourage me through the recruiting process.

"One big thing is that they also checked in on me during my surgery," he said. "That meant a lot to me. I’m not saying those are the only schools that did that, but those are the schools that I liked and I could see myself playing there.”

While many of his fellow top prospects continued their visit into Sunday to take part in Auburn’s elite camp, Wiley could only sit and watch following a pair of surgeries in the last few months. The first was to clean up his left knee around his patellar tendon before the doctors fixed a partial tear in his patellar tendon in his right knee. Now on the way back and feeling good, Wiley said it’s time to get back on the court.

“I feel great actually,” Wiley said. “I feel like I could play right now. I have less than a month so two or three more weeks I’ll be back playing. I can’t wait. I’m too excited, I can’t even explain. I’m just ready.”

Ready to get back on the court himself, Wiley said he’s excited to see where the Auburn program is headed under Pearl and his staff. Coming on the heels of an exciting first year that ended with a run in the SEC Tournament, Auburn’s future looks bright with a strong recruiting class coming in and more talent already committed in 2016. Wiley said for him it’s just more of a reason why Auburn is a program to keep a close eye on in the future.

“It’s big,” Wiley said. “It’s good to see the program go back up to where it used to be and not just be a walkover team in the SEC where it’s pretty much just a game. It’s really good to see.

“Before Coach Pearl got there the fans were there and I’m not going to say they were hopeless, but it wasn’t where they wanted the program to be. Now Coach Pearl has brought back energy to the building.”

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