Charles Barkley praises Bruce Pearl for taking Auburn to next level
May 12, 2022
Charles Barkley is a high-profile college basketball supporter who often voices his excitement and support for Auburn basketball when the spotlight is on his former university. He has been a big supporter of coach Bruce Pearl and other Auburn sports for seasons.
During an event in Hoover on Wednesday, Barkley praised the work of Pearl and the progress that the Auburn basketball program had made. He said he never thought that the team would reach this level of success.
"It was an interesting year for Auburn because it ended on a down note," Barkley said. "I love Bruce Pearl. To tell you how far Auburn basketball has come: I never thought we would get to the point where we win an NCAA game, and people would be disappointed. That's a credit to him. "
After the team's disappointing loss to Miami in Round 2 of the 2022 NCAA tournament, Barkley called Pearl to congratulate him on his growing success in leading Auburn. He also reminded him of how far the program has come under his leadership.
Barkley also praised Pearl for the team's impressive performance during the 2019 NCAA tournament, and he noted that it was a credit to the coach and his staff. The team was able to win 27 games during the regular season, which was a record for the program.
In January 2020, Pearl was granted a contract extension to continue coaching through 2030. He is currently the fourth-highest paid coach in the country, following the retirement of Jay Wright of Villanova.
In recent seasons, Barkley's support for Auburn basketball has continued to grow. He frequently highlights the team's victories on his social media platforms. He also regularly mentions some of the players who play in the NBA.
The team's impressive performance during the season led to plenty of celebrations. The Auburn Tigers secured the top spot in the polls. It also established a new program record by winning the SEC regular-season title.
Despite the team's impressive performance, Barkley said he was not sure that the 2021-22 season would be a massive success. He also understood why Auburn fans were disappointed that the team did not make it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Auburn loses two frontcourt players
Gone are the two players who were considered the best frontcourt players last season—Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith. The team's guards are expected to return, as are several other members of the team's primary rotation.
Pearl is expected to add several new players to the team like last year. He could also swap the number of newcomers with Yohan Traore, a five-star recruit from Senegal, and Johnny Broome, a big man from Morehead State. The team is also expected to add another scholarship player in the form of Julian Phillips on Thursday.
Pearl was adamant the upcoming summer would be an excellent opportunity for his team to improve, as the incoming recruits would challenge the players who were already on the roster. He also said that the competition would allow the players to improve.
“Whether it’s reloading or rebuilding, that’s going to be for the eye of the beholder,” Pearl said. “I just think the summer is going to be really good competition – just like last summer. It was good. I think it gives us a chance – the kids are going to get better. They’re going to make each other better. We need to get better.) (The freshmen) going to come in, and they’re going to be pushing those guys.”