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“Do you think Jabari needed to tell me he was going into the NBA Draft?” - Bruce Pearl on Jabari Smith Jr. meeting him before declaring for the NBA Draft

Bruce Pearl and Jabari Smith Jr. are shaking hands during the last game of the 2022 NCAA season.
Bruce Pearl and Jabari Smith Jr. are shaking hands during the last game of the 2022 NCAA season.
Johnnie Martinez

Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl is bidding farewell to one of his best players from last season, declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, Jabari Smith Jr.

After a disappointing end to March Madness, Jabari Smith Jr. is declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, where he is one of the top prospects.

While there was an expectation that the Auburn Tigers star would depart for the NBA, he still took time to talk with head coach Bruce Pearl about the decision.

Auburn HC Bruce Pearl said PF Jabari Smith met with him before declaring for the draft: "It's just what he does. Everything he does, he does it the right way. (laughs) Do you think Jabari needed to tell me he was going into the NBA Draft?"

Coach Pearl's comments on Smith Jr. add to the narrative about the type of player and personality he brings to the NBA. Smith Jr. is a team player who puts others before himself on and off the court, hence Coach Pearl's final comment.

"Do you think Jabari needed to tell me he was going into the NBA Draft?"

Jabari Smith Jr.'s departure for the NBA will leave a giant hole in the Auburn Tigers and head coach Bruce Pearl's roster.

He was one of the better players in college basketball during the past season. His departure and the departure of teammate Walker Kessler will enable the Tigers to be without their two best players by a significant margin.

Still, Smith Jr. is a player with the potential to make an immediate impact in the NBA and will be one of the top players to watch through the NBA Draft process.


Auburn's Bruce Pearl on what Jabari Smith Jr. could be after the NBA Draft

If head coach Bruce Pearl is correct, Jabari Smith Jr. could make a significant impact after the NBA Draft.
If head coach Bruce Pearl is correct, Jabari Smith Jr. could make a significant impact after the NBA Draft.

The 2022 NBA Draft is full of players with the potential to be great role players at the NBA level. While it is likely that some of these players will develop into NBA superstars, many of them are projected to be role players for now.

In terms of playing a role on an NBA team, Smith Jr. could immediately play one of the most critical roles on an NBA roster. Coach Pearl spoke about what the Tigers' star power forward could do at the next level.

Bruce Pearl says Jabari Smith will go into the NBA as "the best jump-shooting big in college basketball in the last 10 years."

One of the standard player comparisons for Smith Jr. is Chris Bosh, who was a superstar for the Toronto Raptors but played a crucial role in the Miami Heat winning their two championships with LeBron James.

If Jabari Smith Jr. can reach the potential of Chris Bosh, then he could prove his former head coach Bruce Pearl correct about his opinion of him. Even if he does not match the level of a Chris Bosh, shooting is a valuable asset in the NBA.

For any team picking near the top of the draft, Smith Jr. could potentially play a role on their roster immediately.


live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Will Jabari Smith Jr. be one of the top two players picked in the 2022 NBA Draft?

Yes

No

45 votes so far

Edited by Arnav Kholkar

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