Chad Prewett (above left), Bruce Pearl (center) and Chuck Person (right) watch the proceedings at their camp for high school basketball teams.
Auburn, Ala.--The interest in Auburn basketball continues to grow with Coach Bruce Pearl’s team expected to be much improved in 2016-17. Recently the Tigers moved to No. 1 in the country for the 2017 recruiting class on Scout.com with early commitments Austin Wiley and Davion Mitchell, two of the top prospects in the country.
That is part of the reason why the Tigers had 96 teams on campus this week for the Bruce Pearl team camp. With high school teams from all over the South taking part in the three-day camp, Pearl said it was a great opportunity to showcase Auburn and also build a bond with players that could one day be college prospects.
“If you have 96 teams and there are 10-15 players on each team, you do the math,” Pearl said. “Every one of these young men are prospects for our university. They bring their families, their parents, their grandparents and when they come on our campus sometimes it’s for the first time and they can’t believe how nice it is. Then they go back to their communities in Georgia or Florida or Tennessee or other parts of Alabama and all they do is talk about how beautiful Auburn is.
“From a basketball standpoint we’re blessed to have two great facilities,” Pearl added of the Auburn Arena and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. “We have three courts here and five courts in the recreation center. Those kids walk in here and their jaw drops. The facilities speak for themselves.
“As far as building relationships are concerned, you never know when some program that is here, two or three years down the road, will have a good player," the coach pointed out. "Because you’ve rolled out the red carpet and respected them and you’ve built a relationship with them, it could help us in recruiting and usually it’s down the road.”
In charge of putting everything together is Chad Prewett, the special assistant to Pearl and the director of the camp for the Tigers. A former high school coach himself at Lee-Scott, Prewett said he is pleased with how the camp program is developing.
“One of the things we take pride in is our camps,” Prewett said. “When we got here Coach talked about having the best camps in the America, he wanted the best camps in the country. We’ve worked really hard on it. In a camp of this size with 96 teams in three days, all of the work is done in the weeks leading up to it.
“The success of our camps has been because of the relationships,” he added. “I had a lot of relationships previous to being here at Auburn and one of the things that Coach likes me to do is nurture those relationships. The thing about a team camp is that if you don’t do it right then they’ll be somewhere else next year.”
Prewett is just part of an Auburn staff that has done a great job this summer said Pearl. With Chuck Person, Harris Adler, Chad Dollar, Steven Pearl, Jordan VerHulst and even down to the trainers and managers having to do their part, he said it has truly been a team effort.
“They’ve had to work really hard to put this together,” Pearl said. “And we’ll get judged and get compared to other camps. How organized is it? How good or bad is the officiating? We have a great asset here at Auburn and all I’m trying to do is take full advantage of it.”