Pearl had coached 19 straight winning seasons before last year, when his team struggled mightily. But even with a team that had below average talent, Pearl put his stamp on the season at the end. His Tigers went into the SEC Tournament as an afterthought, but they won three straight games to make it to the semifinals, where they were beaten by the Kentucky Wildcats. That run showed that Pearl was making his mark with Auburn.
Now, Pearl faces a season of transition on the Plains. He lost four of his best perimeter players from last season, including leading scorer K.T. Harrell. But Pearl signed a Top 30 recruiting class and he hopes that some of those players can contribute immediately.
Horace Spencer, a Top 100 recruit in the Class of 2015, joins the Tigers for next season, and he should make a big impact right away. Transfer Tyler Harris will also help inside, as will returnee Cinmeon Bowers.
Danjel Purifoy will play right away at small forward and Marshall transfer Kareem Canty should also be a major contributor.
If Pearl can get anything out of his new backcourt, Auburn has the potential to be pretty good next season. Pearl will count on Bryce Brown, T.J. Dunans and T.J. Lang, as well as point guard New Williams.
Bruce Pearl is not accustomed to losing seasons. Look for Auburn to be much improved for the 2015-16 season.