The University of North Carolina’s basketball team is taking hit after hit lately with news of their coach’s retirement and the entry of former 5-star Walker Kessler into the transfer portal. However, the bad luck for the Tar Heels could become good luck for the Tigers, because it’s very possible that Kessler could end up on the Auburn basketball roster.
Kessler, whose father played basketball at UGA, originally named Auburn as one of his top three programs but eventually chose UNC over programs such as Duke, Gonzaga, and even Georgia. During his recruitment, Kessler described liking the Auburn program for many reasons, including proximity to home and Bruce Pearl:
“Auburn definitely has a shot more than any other school,” Kessler said. “They’re in my top-three, probably. It’s so close to home, and the appeal of Coach Pearl, who can get all his players to play for him and just have your back. That’s really appealing to be a player. That’s the main thing.”
The 7-foot center emphasized the recent rise of the Auburn basketball–SEC champs, SEC tournament, Final Four appearance–and praised Coach Pearl’s ability to take players that aren’t necessarily outstanding 5-star recruits and make them into star players.
There is some speculation that Kessler could end up at Kentucky with close friend and former Auburn Tiger Justin Powell, but now it doesn’t seem likely that either will end up in the royal blue and white. While the Gonzaga Bulldogs are reportedly the favorite to snap up the freshman transfer, don’t count out the Tigers just yet.
“Obviously, Coach Pearl is a great coach, great program,” Kessler said. “You can really tell all his players play for him. It’s all together, camaraderie that’s not like at other schools. That’s why they went so far, because everyone is playing together. It’s obviously close to home, only about an hour away. Beautiful campus, beautiful facilities, in the SEC. It’s great.”
If a family atmosphere and camaraderie between teammates is what Kessler is looking for, then we may see him landing on the Plains very soon.