DANJEL PURIFOY (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Auburn's Bruce Pearl Likes Position Change For Danjel Purifoy

Auburn's Danjel Purifoy is expected to move to the wing next season and that's a move that Bruce Pearl believes will work out well.

Auburn, Ala.--The second-leading scorer and rebounder for the Auburn Tigers as a redshirt freshman while playing out of position at power forward, Danjel Purifoy is poised for bigger and better things as he transitions to his more natural position of small forward as a sophomore.

Shooting 37 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line, Purifoy definitely has the shooting stroke to be a weapon for the Tigers on the perimeter. With his size he will also allow Auburn to be a much bigger team on the court next season, something Coach Bruce Pearl said should be a positive all the way around.

“I think Danjel had a really, really good year offensively, and believe it or not, he made plays for us defensively,” Pearl said. “I think when Danjel hurt his ankle against Ole Miss it was hard for him to be able to be as aggressive the rest of the season. Danjel is a great teammate and he's a terrific passer, and he knows what good shots are and he extends the defense.

“Now playing that small forward position, he's going to have to guard guards so there's going to be a bit of a change for him. We will lose some quickness, but this is a team that might be able to play a little bit more zone and use or length a little bit more. I want Danjel to keep doing what he's doing. He was a redshirt freshman. He had a really good year and I think next year will be even stronger.”

Purify looks to shot in Auburn's victory at UAB.

Averaging 14.2 points and six rebounds per outing prior to that game against Ole Miss, Purifoy was just starting to hit his stride when the ankle injury floored him. Going five games without scoring in double figures, he finished strong with seven double figure games in the last 10 contests for the Tigers.

Offense is what he does best and Pearl said moving Purifoy to small forward should allow him to expand his game and give the Tigers even more firepower for the coming season.

“Danjel offensively can play almost any position on the floor, but last year we had to play him defensively at the four and that was a real challenge for him,” Pearl said. “When you have Danjel playing the four and the other guys are Austin and Anfernee, who are both freshmen, so we were young and thin and lacked that weight and that size. Our guys are getting bigger and stronger in the offseason. And yes, I think moving Danjel to the three will now make us going from being somewhat undersized to having really good size.”

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