Auburn 's first verbal commitment for the 2017 basketball signee class is big in more ways than one.
First of all commitment Austin Wiley is already a large guy at six-foot-ten and 250 pounds as a high school junior and is still growing.
He is also a big commitment for Coach Bruce Pearl's team because Wiley is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Alabama for the 2017 class and is rated as a five-star prospect by Scout.com.
Last, but not least, Pearl said it is important to his strategy for success at Auburn to sign bluechip, in-state talent and Wiley, who is rated as the No. 5 center prospect in the country for the 2017 class, certainly fits that description.
“I just felt like it was time to do it,” Wiley said regarding the timing of his decision to announce for the Tigers while on an unofficial visit to Auburn on Saturday with his parents, former Auburn basketball standouts Vickie Orr and Aubrey Wiley. “It seemed the perfect day to do it. My parents are excited, they are really excited.”
Wiley was able to hang out with current members of the Auburn basketball team as well as a pair of class of 2016 commitments, five-star guard/forward Mustapha Heron and four-star point guard Jared?Harper, who were on campus for their official visits.
“Both are great players and I can’t wait for them to be my teammates,” said Wiley, who will be a junior this season at Spain Park High in Birmingham.
Commenting on his decision to make an early commitment to the Tigers, the junior said, “I feel like the program is coming up and Bruce Pearl is a great coach who knows how to win. He can motivate anybody to do anything so that is big. I am just excited to see how they do this year and I can’t wait until I get to Auburn and it is my turn.”
Wiley’s decision did not come as a surprise to Auburn’s second-year head coach. “He was very happy,” said Wiley, who added, “I told him a couple of weeks ago so he knew. He was very happy when I decided to get it out.”
By committing early Wiley noted he can help recruit future teammates. “For sure I am going to work on John Petty, Wendell Carter, Alex Reese, my school teammate Jamal Johnson, Garrison Brooks and other guys I think can come to Auburn and help us,” he said.
Wiley wasn’t able to compete on the summer AAU circuit this year because he has been recovering from a knee injury. “I am coming back slowly,” he said. “I got cleared last week, but they told me not to rush into anything so I don’t get hurt again.”
Wiley’s doctor also told him that he will likely be taller by the time he gets to college. “They said I will probably grow to about seven-one.”
Austin Wiley has been a regular visitor to check out Bruce Pearl's Auburn program.
Center is Wiley’s position in high school, a spot he expects to play in college, although he would like to become versatile enough to play power forward. “Right now I am a true five (center),” he said. “I feel like I can get myself to play both.”
“I am working on post work, my perimeter game,”he added. “By the time I get to Auburn I want my game to be an all-around one.”
Interested in majoring in nutrition in college, Wiley said that the basketball coaches at his parents’ alma mater have impressed him. “All of them did a great job of recruiting me,”he said. “It wasn’t just one coach who recruited me. I?have a great relationship with all of them.”