Auburn Basketball: Austin Wiley needs to stay for four years

Here we take a look at Auburn basketball player Austin Wiley, and discuss comments made by Charles Barkley about his potential.

During the SEC Network’s telecast of the LSU-Auburn basketball game on Wednesday, the announcers asked Auburn legend Charles Barkley about freshman center Austin Wiley‘s potential.

Specifically, they asked Barkley whether Wiley was a “one-and-a-half-and-done” player after Barkley noted that the difference between Auburn and elite college programs — We’re looking at you, Kentucky — was that the other programs got high school players who only wanted to play for one or two years and then turn pro.

Barkley was adamant that Wiley needed more seasoning than that if he wanted a professional career.

And he’s right.

While Wiley and his 6-foot-11 height and 255 pounds have given the Tigers some much-needed size in the middle since he joined the team in December, his game is still a work in progress. And he needs to stay all four years and work on many different aspects if he wants a pro career.

There’s his stamina. The 20 minutes he played Wednesday night against LSU was his season high, and he did produce 10 points, six boards and two blocks. He needs to be better conditioned. I’d like to see him beat his defender down the court more consistently.

The need for more strength and stamina shows up in many different areas. At times Wednesday, he appeared to barely jump for rebounds, relying more on his height. Balls he should have easily grabbed went to more determined players.

And despite his size, LSU center Elbert Robinson — who is 7-foot-1 and tips the scales at 290 — pushed him around at times.

Wiley’s teammates got him the ball on the block several times during the game, but in several instances he was unable to score. He needs to learn how to explode to the basket and score. That will come with more strength, agility and stamina.

Wiley also needs to learn how to shoot consistently from more than 5 feet away from the basket. A nice free throw line jump shot or baseline jumper would force defenders to respect his insider game. Maybe Wiley has that, but Auburn fans haven’t seen it yet.

I like Wiley a lot. But remember that he’s just 18 years old and is learning the game. His genes — he’s the product of Auburn basketball greats Vickie Orr and Aubrey Wiley — help as well.

He reminds me of UNC senior center Kennedy Meeks, a McDonald’s All-American in high school. Meeks arrived in Chapel Hill overweight and played just 16.3 minutes per game his freshman year.

It’s taken Meeks four years in college to begin to reach his potential. He’s now averaging 12.7 points and 9.7 boards per game during his senior season.

Wiley can do better than that. But it’s going to take time. I can’t wait to see how he progresses under Bruce Pearl.

This article originally appeared on