Auburn Basketball: Why it’s time to start Anfernee McLemore

Here we discuss the starting roster for Auburn basketball, and why it might be time to start five freshmen.

If there’s one thing that I don’t understand about Auburn basketball this season, it’s how freshman Anfernee McLemore is being handled.

The 3-star forward from Sylvester, Georgia, is No. 9 on the roster for playing time at 13.3 minutes per game — just .1 ahead of LaRon Smith, who last played against Alabama for a solid five minutes. He’s No. 8 in scoring with five points per game, yet leads the team in field goal percentage (72.1 percent) — subtracting his 100 percent from 3-point land — and is only averaging .8 turnovers per game.

To be fair, he has been playing more as of late — 20 minutes against Mississippi State and 19 against Alabama. This is also a product of T.J. Lang being absent and Bryce Brown seemingly being held down more since his debacle with Horace Spencer. Yet there still are questions as to why McLemore has yet to earn the starting role despite his efficient play — Spencer isn’t exactly doing much better.

I understand Spencer being the 4-star from Pennsylvania, but there’s more to a player than just their ranking or their perceived talent. McLemore has simply done more for the Tigers following his surging play, something that Spencer has yet to do for his time on the Plains.

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Either start McLemore, or give him more playing time. He has the ability to have the same impact as a Danjel Purifoy or a Mustapha Heron if given the opportunity.

There is absolutely no argument against the concept of starting Heron, Purifoy, Jared Harper, Austin Wiley and McLemore against Ole Miss. Harper and Heron have proven that they can scrape Auburn away from failure and score at will, yet Harper isn’t receiving the same love as Heron despite also being a starter. Purifoy is the do-it-all man for the the Tigers — third in rebounding (5.0 RPG), fourth in assists (2.0 APG) and third in scoring (11.4 PPG) on 38.8 percent shooting from the field. Wiley is the newly established big man for Auburn, pulling out all the stops that Smith and Spencer were simply incapable of.

McLemore just make sense — all five of these guys together just makes sense.

Imagine all five freshmen starting together, creating a new roster that allows for the new guys to both grow together, but to also learn together. The relationships that these guys have together are vital to the success of the team as the whole — friends always play better together. There’s no stopping McLemore from being separated from the pack of an impressive freshmen class, so there’s no point in not playing them all together.

Hell, they could bring some flair for once. All Auburn has done the past few weeks is throw up any sort of 3-pointer that they could get their eyes on — which has led to both success and awkward failure.

In all honesty, there’s really nothing left to lose in starting all five together. Certainly the position right outside of the bubble is a little taxing for some people to accept this inevitable squad, but it won’t exactly do any harm, either.

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