On the final day of the July evaluation period, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl and his staff received good news on the recruiting trail, as 2017 Atlanta (GA) Westlake combo forward Chuma Okeke made his pledge to the Tigers.
A skilled, versatile forward prospect, Okeke will bring immediate production to the Plains as a freshman in 2017-18. At 6-foot-7, Okeke can play with his back to the basket or face up on the perimeter. He is the ultimate mismatch problem for other bigs because of his size, skill-set, and quickness. He has proven he is more than capable of shooting the basketball from 18-feet and in, as well as scoring at the rim. However, Okeke brings immense value on the defensive end of the floor with his ability to guard multiple positions and rebounding.
Auburn was able to fend off a host of programs for Okeke's commitment, as Florida State and Georgia were highly involved. Kansas loomed, too.
With Okeke's commitment, Auburn now holds commitments from three top 50 prospects. Austin Wiley (24), Davion Mitchell (31), and Okeke (42) currently make-up Auburn's No. 1 recruiting class in 2017.
Since he was hired at Auburn, Pearl has made it a priority to recruit the state of Georgia, and, in particular, the city of Atlanta. Last year, he signed Jared Harper (Pebblebrook) and Anfernee McLemore (Worth County); in 2015, Bryce Brown (Tucker) flipped his commitment from Charlotte and ultimately signed with the Tigers. He averaged 10 points per game as a freshman last season.