For those that read this site frequently, you know that we do Snap Judgments giving our postgame thoughts after all of our football games. We hope to bring these over to the basketball side this season as well. The Tigers went 1-1 in their pair of season opening games against Saint Joseph’s and Gonzaga. Here are our first impressions of what we saw yesterday and today from Fort Myers.
“I think it’s pretty evident that this team is a little hamstring without a true talented point guard, but to get the win against St. Joe’s without Cooper and with a bunch of young guys getting either their first extended playing time or first playing time ever, it was satisfying. Justin Powell is going to be a star and will be hated by rival fans very soon. Stretch showed off some skill underneath and I think he could be a very dynamic big guy, and Allen Flanigan has all of a sudden become our most reliable offensive player?? I can really get behind that. Jaylin Williams is going to be on a pro roster before too long, and it’s unfortunate that foul trouble sidelined him against Gonzaga. We wouldn’t have won with him playing full minute, but it would’ve been a little more exciting. All in all, this is the type of event that grows a team quickly and pays off in the future.”
– Jack Condon
“First things first – basketball is back, and I’m downright giddy. It feels like Auburn is debuting an entirely new lineup this year, and we’re getting to learn about each and every one of these guys as we go along. There were highs and lows against St. Joe’s, but I can speak for everyone when I say seeing Jaylin Williams take over a game is what we’ve all been looking forward to. His first double double was a no doubter. Gonzaga, meanwhile, showed why they’re the number one tea in the country, so I don’t feel all that bad about the performance by the team today. Justin Powell has shown early flashes of being the bane of the rest of the SEC for the next few years, and Allen Flanigan displayed his improved three point stroke (hopefully he was working with Isaac in the offseason). This team clearly looks like it’s missing a key cog in the backcourt, but that’s not a crutch they’ll be able to lean on all season if things go south with Cooper. I think the talent all over the roster is obvious, though, and this team will be a formidable for anyone not considered a national title favorite.”
“There is so much to love on this team. Auburn predictably struggled against an elite team Friday but managed to squeeze out an overtime victory after giving up a large lead Thursday. Inconsistency is just a symptom of a very young roster – Auburn is fine. Coach Pearl has been counting on a certain point guard being on the roster for YEARS now, so there will understandably be some issues trying to make do without him. But it didn’t even take 20 minutes for me to fall in love with this crew on Thursday, and Friday’s result didn’t change that.”
“No shame in losing a game by 23 to the #1 team in the country (who played like it for much of the second half) only 16 hours after your first game (or scrimmage) of the season with a totally new rotation and mostly new roster. It is what it is. This team is young and raw and will have some games where they just can’t get it done. Allen Flanigan showed that he can make a positive impact on offense in this game, which is great. Yet again without the likes of Bryce Brown and Isaac Okoro our perimeter defense leaves a lot to be desired. I expect this team to improve throughout the season, and be really fun to watch. Today’s game did nothing to change that.”
“We traded elite wing defense for elite interior defense. We also seem to be a team still figuring out where each other is supposed to be on offense. That makes sense with the COVID-altered schedule and the youth on the team. Thor is supposed to be playing against high school kids and he played Gonzaga today. This will be a great teaching moment for Bruce to show these guys where they can be with hard work and buy-in.
Powell and Williams and Flanigan all had bright spots on offense. Stretch is going to be a fan favorite and he and Thor are a nightmare help defense duo. If Auburn doesn’t lead the conference in blocks I don’t want to play the team who does.”
-Son of Crow
“I will echo Ryan’s sentiments above about how giddy I am to have College Basketball back and I’m going to enjoy every game like it’s the last because there’s no guarantees this season. I was really proud of how Auburn responded late in regulation on Thursday when they faced some major adversity. Jaylin Williams made the bucket to get Auburn to Overtime and he made a couple baskets late in Overtime that made the difference in the game. We are insanely athletic on the interior defensively and the one thing I feel most confident about is Stretch being the SEC leader in blocks this season (Top 3 at worst).
Justin Powell was a nice surprise as he was very impressive running the point on Thursday. He looked very comfortable for a guy that hasn’t played much in the last two years while also stepping in for Sharife Cooper. If common sense could prevail and Auburn gets Cooper back relatively soon, this team will make some noise once SEC plays rolls around. There will definitely be some growing pains throughout the season, like we saw today but I’m really pleased with how things went, knowing that this team’s best days are in front of us.”