The Pearlies: Handing out awards for Auburn basketball's 2020-21 season
Tough breaks were constant for the Tigers. But let's look back at the players and moments that will fuel the 2021-22 hype train.
HC Bruce Pearl (Shanna Lockwood/Auburn Athletics)
There were plenty of negatives for Auburn basketball during the 2020-21 season, one that caused Bruce Pearl to say “How many times are we going to get hit in the gut?” during a postgame press conference.
The Tigers opened the season by announcing they would not play in the postseason, a self-imposed sanction for the fallout from the Chuck Person scandal. Shortly after that, news broke that 5-star point guard Sharife Cooper wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to play. That didn’t change until the 12th game of the campaign — after freshman guard Justin Powell’s promising start was cut short by a season-ending brain injury. (And now, Powell won’t return to the Tigers, as he will be transferring.)
Auburn, the youngest team in major college basketball, lost six SEC games by less than five points each. Cooper didn’t even play in the final four games of the season after suffering an ankle sprain during practice. The Tigers’ thin, inexperienced roster fin…