Auburn, Ala.--When Danjel Purifoy joined the Auburn Tigers last summer he was part of a group of newcomers who were supposed to signal a change in the direction for Coach Bruce Pearl’s basketball program, but instead Purifoy failed to qualify academically and without him the team struggled because of a lack of depth and talent.
Now back on the court full-time and ready to help the Auburn program get back in the postseason, Purifoy said he will be happy to help his teammates this year after being forced to watch a season ago.
“All I did last year was practice,” Purifoy said. “Once I saw my team down a certain number of points I was like ‘I know there’s something I could do to help,’ but I’m back now and it’s a great feeling. I’m out here practicing with my team. I don’t have to leave my team or leave practices any more. I’m back and it’s a really great feeling.”
A player capable of playing on the wing or in the paint for the Tigers this season, Purifoy was perhaps Auburn’s most talented player a year ago in preseason practices. Now a year older and more mature, he said he’s ready to bring his all-around game to the court this year.
“I create very well, getting the ball to my teammates and breaking people down,” Purifoy said. “I attack very well. I have developed a jump shot. I didn’t have that when I first got here, but now I have developed it.”
With Purifoy, transfers LaRon Smith and Ronnie Johnson, and freshmen Jared Harper, Mustapha Heron and Anfernee McLemore, Auburn’s roster has received a talent infusion for the 2016-17 season. With T.J. Dunans, T.J. Lang, Bryce Brown, Horance Spencer and New Williams all back, Purifoy said he can’t wait to show the Auburn fans what the Tigers are made of this year.
“I really can’t even say right now,” Purifoy said of what the team is capable of. “Ya’ll just have to see it. It’s going to be something to watch this year. I know we said that last year, but it really is this year.”