Search This Blog

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Senior Basketball Thank You- A Season Like None Other

Because Auburn Men & Women Believe in These Things

I needed a few days before I could write my senior thank you. One reason I have delayed writing it is because I do not want to say goodbye to these guys. This was an amazing season. The post-season was indescribable. I had so much fun watching basketball this season. Years ago, I fell in love with watching the NCAA tournament after I was able to attend the first two rounds with the pep band at USM. The tournament is always fun for me but this season will always be extra special. Even one day when I know Auburn will go on to win the championship, I will remember this team. This team built the foundation for future generations. As a whole team- thank you. What y'all did was so incredible. The theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts was in full effect. Even though I tried to delay it, the time has come to say my thank yous.

Photo used with permission from @AURobUSA

Bryce Brown- There are not really any words for the way you have changed Auburn basketball. It has always been fun to watch you play. Over the years, we have seen you become more accurate with your shots, learn to shake off mistakes and become a leader on the team. It has been an honor to root for you, Bryce. We have always heard about the hard work you put in long after practice. Thank you for everything you have done for Auburn. You have completely changed the culture at Auburn. I know you are going to do great things but we surely wish you did not have to go. Good luck with all of your future endeavors. I know you are going to do great things. You will always have a home at Auburn. Please stay in touch with your Auburn family and come visit when you can. War Eagle!

Photo used with permission from @AURobUSA

Jared Harper- Wow, what a season! We wish you did not have to go but we completely understand. It is time for you to go get yours now. I will never forget this season.There are way too many instances to mention, but we have loved and appreciated every second of your play at Auburn. I have so much respect for you. It has been a joy and pleasure to root for you. One day in the not too distant future, Auburn is going to win a championship. Your quiet leadership will not soon be forgotten.  One thing we always knew watching you was that you could make it change in a second. I will never forget "We've Got Jared." Thanks for being such a good sport about everything. I know we are going to see great things from you. Come visit when you can. You will always be home at Auburn. Thank you for everything.

Photo used with permission from @AURobUSA

Horace Spencer- When I think of Auburn man, you come to mind. You displayed being a warrior for Auburn and a loving dad at the same time. I think my favorite moment of you this season was when you got your head split open. I know it is probably not something you wanted to remember but when you got up and stared them down with blood running down your head- WOW! This season was so  incredible. Thank you for all of your hard work, time, and dedication. I know that the whole season, especially the post season was time away from your family. This whole season was a dream. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. Know that you will always have a home at Auburn. I know we are going to hear great things from you in the future. Thank you. War Eagle!

Photo used with permission from@AURobUSA

Malik Dubar- We could always count on you for a laugh and a smile. There is something special about a player that can always build up his team. I wish you could stay around a little longer. This season was so magical. Not only the season but the team chemistry was also magical. I remember when you got smacked in the mouth and insisted you keep playing. What a warrior! We are going to miss your tenacity and basketball skills, but I think more than anything we are going to miss your personality. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. Your hard work will always be remembered. I know we will hear about great things from you in the future. Please come visit when you can and stay in touch with your Auburn family. Thank you for everything! War Eagle!

Photo used with permission from @AURobUSA
Cole Blackstock- You are truly a champion. The heart of a lion and the fight of a tiger makes a terrific basketball player. I think we were all excited when you got your scholarship. You've proven over the last few years that a walk-on can make a difference. Of course, this year you were able to transition to scholarship player. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. I hope you had as much fun playing as we did watching over the last few years. One day, Auburn is going to win a national championship and when we do, we are going to be able to point back to you and this team. Thank you for everything. Thank you for your hard work, your time and your dedication. Please stay in touch and come and visit often. We are really going to miss you. Thank you for everything! War Eagle!

Used with permission from @AURobUSA

Chuma Okeke- I do not even know where to begin. You really gave us a ton of joy this season. We were all devastated at your injury. Your sweet smile really stood out this season. While you are not as jokey and smiley as Malik, your smile is sweet and honest. Seriously, thanks for your hard work and dedication. The entrance you made into the arena at halftime vs Kentucky was super special. I know you did not feel like it but you came anyway for your team. I loved the videos of you advancing the team in the bracket. We can never express the appreciation for all you did for us this season. I hope everything goes perfectly for you. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. Come and visit often. I know we are going to hear great things from you in the future. War Eagle!

Photo from my personal collection @tatershell
We Believe in Auburn and Love It!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Ramblings From Afar

At the time of this writing, I am sitting in San Antonio, Texas. It is 6:30 in the morning, and my coffee is perfect company. 

I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, and in doing so, take a brief escape from the coming day of hard physical labor that awaits. 

Tiger Woods:
While I understand the mix of emotions for Mr. Woods from some, because of his personal ( read private ) life drama, I can't help but be elated about his success at the Masters Tournament. From sports greatness, to wondering if he will ever be able to walk comfortably again, then a return to sports greatness after a surgical procedure, is the stuff that sports dreams, and movies, are made of. 

Speaking of golf, the Auburn Women's golf team has been on an upward swing. See what I did there? Anyway, after finishing second at the Clemson Invitational, the ladies have started the SEC Championships on a tear. If you are in the Birmingham area, and would love to see our Ladies in action, they are playing at Greystone on the Legacy course.

Auburn Football:
I have zero clue who the QB will be that starts against Oregon on August 31st, in Arlington, Texas. What I do know, is I saw real improvement in the throwing motion of Malik Willis, and Joey Gatewood. Not that I know enough to coach the position, more of an accuracy, and quickness of the release when throwing the ball. Both of these gentlemen seemed much better.

Bo Nix showed he can become a real dynamic force when he has the ball. It's no wonder he was highly sought after.

Our RB's look good behind a much improved offensive line. Hopefully the RB's can pass protect better this season.

The Tigers defense may not start out as strong as last season's unit, but by mid season they will be very good. Barring a lot of injuries, this defense can become great. 

That's all for now. 

War Eagle!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

My note to OUR Auburn MBB Team, thank you!

The morning after... It still stings. I feel terrible for our players. They earned an opportunity & for whatever the excuse they were not afforded it. Like so many others have said, this is life. They are Auburn men and thus I know they will have more opportunities. It's who we are. It does not make it right; it does not mean we should ignore it. It only means that we as Auburn men and women rise above it. We do not let any single person, group or event define us or limit us from reaching our goals.

This team was amazing. There is no other word for it. After a three game losing streak in February, of course the negative nanny’s were on fire on twitter. I have chosen not to go and pull those tweets as looking in the past at that type of brainless, easy, shallow rhetoric never matters much anyways. It only serves the person who tweets against our Auburn athletes, coaches and staff some type of false validation. The true Family, supports, believes, defends and loves Auburn.

This team chose to ignore the smoke and focus on what they knew they could do. They felt compelled to take care of some unfinished business after exiting the NCAA Tournament the year earlier suffering a blow out loss to Clemson and that drunk looking Tiger of theirs.

One team returned the next year and the other one didn't. Our Tigers had an epic run not matched before in history, for the simple fact no team in tournament history has beat Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky in back to back to back games. None! Spreading that blue blood all over the NCAA tourney floor.

Our team; led by our seniors Malik Dunbar, Horace Grant and Bryce Brown followed by Jared Harper, Anfernee McLemore, Danjel Purifoy, Chuma Okeke, Austin Wiley, J’von McCormick and Samir Doughty got the bulk of the minutes over the end of February and an absolutely perfect March that had them practicing in April for a Final Four Semi-Final game!

Wow, just wow! I was a coach once or twice and I know that Bruce Pearl who deserves more credit then the rest of the college sports world is giving him has to be amazed and proud of what he guided these Auburn men to achieve. I said perfect March! Look at this schedule and all of these games are “W’s”!

Yeah, I threw UGA on there because that is where the streak started and I wanted to just reiterate the fact that we swept the Bammers, the UGaly’s and the Vols in the same season.

Typing this is bittersweet. I am so happy and proud of these Auburn men but I cannot lie as I sit here in the Minneapolis airport on Sunday my heart aches that I pass on attending a Championship game. 

My Tigers mean to much and I support them first before I support anything or anyone else.

I will close with thank you for a season that defines Auburn Basketball and sets the bar for every Auburn player that takes the court wearing the Orange, Blue and White from now on, YOU did that! I can only hope next year’s team embraces what I know this team did embrace; If you don’t believe In yourself, who will? They did and we all got to come along for the ride. Now we all need to continue to believe and embrace the "valuable pain" - come back and finish it.... it is not how hard or how many times you get knocked down that matters... it is getting back up and what you do that matters. Make it three tourney's in a row! I BELIEVE!

War Eagle Family, much love and it is always great to be an Auburn Tiger. We love Auburn. So blessed.

AURob – just a pixel pusher!