Bruce Pearl knew what he was doing when he offered a scholarship to Allen Flanigan, who has developed into the most consistent performer on this season’s Auburn basketball team. The 6-6, 215-pound left-hander has scored in double figures in almost every game this season.
While not as highly-recruited as some of his Auburn teammates, Flanigan was a key player on Arkansas state championship teams coached by his grandfather, Al Flanigan, and did a lot of positive things on the court to allow that to happen for Parkview High in Little Rock. That is the same school where Allen’s father, Auburn assistant coach Wes Flanigan, was a star who went on to become an All-SEC point guard at Auburn playing for teams coached by Tommy Joe Eagles and Cliff Ellis.
Allen Flanigan, who was considered one of the top prospects in Arkansas, wasn’t as highly-ranked or as heavily-recruited as his dad when he committed to Pearl’s Tigers before his senior season at Parkview, but he has more than proven he can play in the SEC.
After averaging 3.2 points per game in a reserve role as a freshman on last season’s senior-dominated team, he is having a breakout sophomore year. He has developed into the team’s top defensive player, is one of Auburn’s best rebounders and has a chance to be the SEC player who makes the biggest jump in scoring from the 2019-20 season to this one.
Pearl has been complimentary of Flanigan’s play throughout the season when the left-hander, who played small forward in high school, helped with the point guard duties when needed.
However, after Flanigan’s performance vs. Kentucky when the sophomore led all scorers with 21 points and all rebounders with nine, Pearl dialed up the praise several notches.
“Allen Flanigan was a man out there in every which way — rebounding, defensively, attacking the rim, using his physicality, willingness to take big shots, 8-8 from the foul line. You talk about a warrior,” he said.
With Sharife Cooper in the lineup, Flanigan isn’t required to play as many minutes out of position at point guard. Getting Cooper eligible was a big deal for the Tigers and so is putting Flanigan back on the wing where he is most effective.
Turning to football, Bryan Harsin’s coaching staff looks like it is being diligent trying to make up for lost time on the recruiting front, especially at the running back position, where the former coaching staff didn’t sign any help in the early period back in December.
With no 2021 commitments at the position and only two scholarship running backs on the roster, Harsin and crew are facing a code-red situation at this position. They have obviously figured out that is an urgent need.
Recent offers have gone out to 6-0, 203-pound four-star Byron Cardwell of Morse High in San Diego, Calif., and 5-9, 190-pound three-star Jarquez Hunter from Neshoba Central High in Mississippi. The Tigers look to have a good chance to sign Hunter, who rushed for 1,687 yards and 22 touchdowns on 226 carries as a senior while earning the Mississippi Class 5A Mr. Football award.
The Tigers have also been in touch with running backs in the transfer portal, including Kevin Marks at Buffalo and Keaontay Ingram of Texas.
Additionally, the Tigers are heavily involved with a variety of class of 2022 running backs, which makes sense looking at the roster numbers.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter.