BRUCE PEARL (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Auburn's Bruce Pearl Calls Signing Class "Historic" For Tigers

Auburn signed the No. 2 basketball recruiting class in the country on Scout and Bruce Pearl said it's an exciting day for the program.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers and Bruce Pearl put the finishing touches on the the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the nation on Wednesday when consensus five-star Austin Wiley, a 6-foot-11, 255-pound center from Hoover, Ala., and Conrad Academy (Fla.); four-star Davion Mitchell, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard from Hinesville, Ga., and Liberty County High School; and four-star Chuma Okeke, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Atlanta, Ga., and Westlake High School, all signed on the dotted line.

"You want success for these young men because of getting to know all three of these phenomenal families," said Pearl. "I'm just grateful to those guys that they saw what we saw. They believed in what we believed. Together, we have a chance to make history at Auburn. We can make Auburn basketball relevant once again. We can make our lettermen and our former players proud to be able to see what we're doing right now. This is a very exciting day for Auburn basketball." 

Ranked as the 13 overall prospect nationally by Scout, Wiley played on Team USA's gold medal winner at the U17 world championships in Spain this summer and is the second five-star player to sign with the Tigers in the last two years joining Mustapha Heron. He averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds as a junior last season for Spain Park and helped the Jaguars to the Class 7A finals. He is the son of former Auburn players, All-American Vickie Orr, and Aubrey Wiley, who led the SEC in rebounding in 1993-94. 

"This class is historic," said Pearl. "It started with Austin Wiley - about a year and a half ago - committing to us prior to his junior year. You might say that was a no brainer. His mom, Vickie, was an All-American. His dad, Aubrey, led the SEC in rebounding his senior year. Both of them are part of the Auburn Family, but Austin could've gone anywhere in the country. He had offers from everywhere, but he wanted to be an Auburn Man. 

"More importantly, he wanted to start to lead even before he got here. He knew that his verbal commitment might attract others. All he's done between then and now is work so hard to build his body to represent our country in international basketball and wear that USA jersey. Now, he's going to come here and add to the history and legacy of his family." 

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Austin Wiley

A dynamic point guard, Mitchell is ranked 37th in the nation by Scout. He led Liberty County to its first Georgia Class 4A state championship last season, defeating defending state champion Jonesboro, 58-52. He averaged 24.2 points, 7.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game as a junior, earning Savannah Morning News Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors. Mitchell shot 41 percent (103-of-250) from 3-point range. 

With the ability to get to the rim and also knock down shots from the perimeter, Mitchell has all the tools to play early for the Tigers and it starts with defense. 

"Davion Mitchell is one of the most physical defenders anywhere in high school basketball," said Pearl. "There is not a better on-the-ball defender than Davion Mitchell. If I put you on him, you're not going to score that night, but he can also score. He can also make plays. He's a winner. He brought a state championship to his hometown. He's a terrific young man. We're going to have great point guard play because of Jared Harper and Davion Mitchell running that position." 

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Davion Mitchell will play point guard for the Tigers.

Rounding out the trio is Okeke, who is ranked 41st nationally by Scout. A talented forward, he helped Westlake to the Georgia Class 6A state championship for the first time since 2002 with a 68-58 overtime win over Pebblebrook last season. Westlake trailed by 10 points at the half. He averaged 22.7 points and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore in 2014-15. 

Expected to play the stretch-four position for the Tigers with the ability to post up inside but also step out on the floor and knock down shots, Okeke's versatility is the key said Pearl.

Chuma Okeke

"Chuma had offers from Kansas and everybody in the SEC," said Pearl. "Chuma Okeke is a rare talent. He wins without necessarily always having to have the basketball in his hands. He loves the game. He loves to train. He loves to play. He's a nightmare matchup for people because he can shoot the ball from the perimeter. He can put it on the floor. He can score for himself. He reminds you of Danjel Purifoy, but he has little bit more size. He's creative like Danjel as well. He has a great future in professional basketball. We got to know his family so well." 




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