When your mom is former Auburn great Vickie Orr and your dad is former Auburn basketball standout Aubrey Wiley, it’s a done deal you’re going to play your college basketball at Auburn University, right?
“I told them my choice two weeks before I announced it,” said Spain Park five-star prospect Austin Wiley. “They both thought I was going to Duke.”
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound junior power forward gave his verbal commitment to Auburn and coach Bruce Pearl in late September. Wiley averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds a game as a sophomore for the Spain Park Jaguars.
Besides Auburn and Duke, his eight finalist schools included Alabama, UAB, LSU, Mississippi State, Florida and Kansas.
But Auburn won his heart.
“Everything was just perfect,” he said. “The facilities, the coaches, they just have all the resources to be good. I can’t fail unless I just mess up. For the program to be successful, for me to be successful to get better as a player, it was just perfect.”
Although Auburn was the predictable choice, he said his parents let him decide.
“When I started getting recruited in the eighth grade, they said they’d like for me to go to Auburn but that it was my decision,” he said. “And they were pretty fair with all the coaches. There were a lot of rumors out there I was going to Auburn anyway. So when the coaches would ask, they would say, ‘No that’s not true, there’s no guarantee. Recruit my son hard, it’s his decision.’
“Coach Pearl is a great coach. When I first met him, it was last year at the Elite camp. So he had just gotten hired. What he told me was Auburn was trying to rebuild the program and he was trying to rebuild his image, in a way, because he had just messed up at Tennessee. Auburn’s helping him and he’s helping Auburn. That’s pretty much what I took away. He got real emotional, because pretty much his life, coaching basketball, had been taken away from him for a couple of years because he’d made a mistake and he wanted to fix that.
“And I think he’s on a good path,” Wiley added.
Wiley said he’s glad to have the recruitment process behind him. He’s ready to focus on leading the Jags to a state title or two, concentrate on his schoolwork, get himself better prepared for the SEC, and recruit a few other top-flight players to his Auburn class.
“I got to,” he said. “They used Jared [Harper, an Atlanta point guard who is a 2016 commitment] to recruit me a little bit, so I’ve got to do some for my class.”
Wiley said the first order of business as practice begins is to work on his conditioning. “I’ve got to get a little bit stronger. I’ve got to work on my post moves. I’ve got to get a perimeter shot.”
Spain Park coach Donnie Quinn agrees that Wiley should improve his outside shot, but said, “He’s ready for the next level now, I believe. He’s still learning. He’s got the body and the physicality right now to play at any level. Right now, it’s a matter of extending his outside game and giving him other options besides just sitting under the goal. And defensively, he’s very good.”
Wiley is one of 57 players invited to try out for the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team.