Bruce Pearl began his coaching journey in 1982 as an assistant at Stanford. His career has taken him from the West Coast to the Midwest to the South where Pearl now enters his seventh season with the Auburn Tigers. He has a 587-221 all-time head coaching record.
Pearl has coached some great players since 1982 and on this week’s episode of March Madness 365, the Auburn coach creates his all-time dream player in 10 categories culled from players he has coached during his career.
Pearl also shares his perspective on the current racial climate in America, what his responsibility is as a coach during this time and how his team is going to bounce back next season despite the effects of the coronavirus.
Here are the 10 players that makeup Bruce Pearl’s list:
The Quarterback — Jared Harper (Auburn guard, 2016-2019)
Jared Harper, known for his lightning-quick speed, lands here as Bruce Pearl’s ultimate quarterback. His court vision and speed made him Pearl’s best playmaker. Harper helped lead Auburn from a No. 5 seed to the Final Four in 2019.
“I want to put the ball in Jared’s hands,” Pearl said.
Harper averaged 13.5 points and 4.8 assists per game during his three-year stint at Auburn.
The Clutch Gene — Chris Lofton (Tennessee guard, 2004-2008)
Chris Lofton, who was known for sinking SEC opponents in the mid-2000s, lands here as Bruce Pearl’s ultimate clutch player. Lofton played all four years at Tennessee and averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting over 42% from three-point land.
“Big shot after big shot for me at Tennessee,” Pearl said.
Lofton is the all-time leading three-point shooter in the SEC, as he made 431 three-pointers during his tenure at Tennessee — almost 50 more than another player coached by Pearl, former Auburn guard Bryce Brown.
The Athletic Wonder — Stan Gouard (Southern Indiana guard/forward, 1993-1996)
Pearl goes all the way back to his first head coaching job at Southern Indiana for his pick for his athletic wonder — Stan Gouard.
“Had Stan had a good knee he would have had a long career in the NBA,” Pearl said.
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Known as “Superman,” Gouard was a two-time Division II Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996. He led the Southern Indiana Eagles to a 1995 Division II National Championship. Gouard is now the head coach at Southern Indiana.
The Shooter — Bryce Brown (Auburn guard, 2015-2019)
As mentioned above, Bryce Brown is the second-leading three-point shooter in SEC history, falling about 50 made three-pointers short of former Tennessee star Chris Lofton.
“You know, [if]Bryce could see it, Bryce could make it,” Pearl said.
Brown averaged 12.8 points per game and shot over 39% from three during his four years as an Auburn Tiger.
The Bucket Getter — Roy Marble (Iowa guard, 1985-1989)
Pearl picks Roy Marble, from his assistant coaching days at Iowa, for the player who could go get a bucket whenever the team needed one. Marble played for the Hawkeyes in the late 1980s but tragically died from cancer in 2015 at the age of 47.
“Roy could get buckets, he could get downhill and he probably was one of the best bucket-getters we had,” Pearl said.
Marble averaged 15.8 points per game during his time at Iowa and shot 54% from the field.
The Lockdown Defender — Isaac Okoro (Auburn forward, 2019-2020)
Despite Pearl’s long-list of versatile defenders he has coached over the years, the Auburn coach went with someone who played for him this past year — Isaac Okoro.
“He’s going to be in the top seven probably, in this year’s NBA draft because he was the best defender in college basketball,” Pearl said.
The 6’6″ forward could also get it down on the offensive end as well. Along with averaging at least a block and a steal per game, Okoro averaged 12.9 points and 4.4. rebounds per game.
The Dirty Worker — Austin Wiley (Auburn center, 2016-2020)
Austin Wiley was known as Auburn’s go-to rebounder and shot-blocker this past season so Pearl knew exactly who to tap for his “dirty worker” attribute.
“Got every rebound in his area, and really began to do a great job this past season of rebounding out of his area,” Pearl told Katz.
This past season Wiley averaged 9.3 rebounds per game and blocked 1.6 shots per game.
The Glue Guy — Samir Doughty (Auburn guard, 2018-2020)
Samir Doughty started his college career at VCU then transferred to Auburn and began playing for the Tigers in 2018.
“He’s just a winner,” Pearl said. “He kept my locker room together.”
Doughty also improved from his first year with Auburn to his second. He averaged 16.7 points per game this past season compared to 7.3 points per game during the 2018-2019 season.
The Coach — Tobias Harris (Tennessee forward, 2010-2011)
Although Tobias Harris only played one season under Bruce Pearl before entering the NBA, he blew away the now-Auburn coach with his basketball IQ.
“Unbelievable discipline, great teammate, proof that mind over matter sometimes,” Pearl said. “Tobias was blessed with some size and talent but he really gets the most out of what he has.”
Harris averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at Tennessee prior to being taken 19th in the 2011 NBA Draft.
The Captain — Dane Bradshaw (Tennessee Guard, 2003-2007)
Originally Pearl’s pick for the “glue guy” Dane Bradshaw lands here due to his ability to rally his teammates together whenever Pearl needed him to.
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“My family and I even endowed a scholarship in Dane Bradshaw’s name because nobody would remember Dane because of the numbers he put up as an individual player, but he bought in and we won back-to-back SEC East championships because Dane was such a great glue-guy,” Pearl said.