AU "Felt Like Home" For Newest BBall Verbal

Auburn basketball commitment Earnest Ross talks about his decision and what he likes about the Tigers.

Cary, N.C.--Auburn basketball coach Jeff Lebo has been looking for offensive firepower from the perimeter since he arrived on the Plains and Tuesday he added another piece to the puzzle with a commitment from powerful junior guard Earnest Ross from Panther Creek High School.

A 6-5, 215 shooting guard, Ross averaged nearly 26 points per game and led the team with eight rebounds and just over four assists per contest as a junior. After taking an official visit to Auburn over the weekend, Ross says he saw everything he was hoping to see in a school and that made the decision an easy one for him. Ross chose Auburn over offers from South Florida, UNC-Wilmington, Colorado and others.

"I just committed to Auburn," Ross tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I loved the coaches and family atmosphere. Coach Jeff Lebo is a terrific man and a terrific guy. I feel he's going to take me to the next level. He's going to help me reach my potential. He's a great coach, not only him but the full coaching staff.

"They are just incredible people. I really enjoyed my time on campus when I took my official visit this weekend. The players, the campus, everything felt like home for me. That's how it happened."

Taking an official visit along with Auburn commitment Andre Malone from North Clayton High in Georgia, Ross says that he got a chance to spend time with several of the current players on the team and also see his future home both on and off the court.

"I love how the fan support is," Ross says. "When I went to the football game that was my first time ever doing that. It was crazy. I was shocked. It tells me the fans really support Auburn sports down there and I really like that.

"The new dorm and arena played a big part," he adds. "The year I go in we're getting new apartments. That's a good thing. My sophomore year the new coliseum will be coming up. It's going to be real nice. I'm looking forward to playing in it. I just can't wait to get there and play."

A starter since his freshman season at Panther Creek, Ross says that he's come a long way in his game since that first season. Now a physical player that is comfortable in the paint and on the perimeter, he adds he is looking for big things out of his team as he finishes up his career before heading to Auburn.

"I feel like I can get to the rim at will," Ross says. "I'm a real strong defensive player. I can shoot the ball real well. I play hard and give it my all when I'm out there on the court. There is nobody I pattern my game after but I try to have the mentality like LeBron James. He feels like he can't be stopped and I try to have that same mentality when I'm driving to the basket."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Ross plays for coach L.J. Hepp at Panther Creek. A former assistant at both Stanford and Tulsa, Hepp says the Tigers are getting a SEC quality player in Ross. "He's highly competitive," Hepp says. "He's a tough, emotional, intense kid. From a basketball standpoint, he's very strong. He uses his body well. He loves contact and is a very physical player. He shoots the ball with range. He can really get to the rim. He passed the ball too. He led us in assists and his scoring was around 26 a game but he led us in rebounding and assists as well."

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