Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers failed to live up to expectations in the 2015-16 season in the SEC. There was a high level of optimism surrounding the program, but they were never able to live to the expectations.
Kareem Canty, who transferred to Auburn after an impressive freshman campaign with the Marshall Thundering Herd back in 2013-14, didn’t pan out with the program. He was suspended from the team and then declared for the 2016 NBA Draft early, ending his collegiate eligibility.
Heading towards the 2016-17 season, Pearl and the Tigers were looking to add some pieces that could either help them immediately, or in the future.
On Monday, they gained a commitment from a graduate transfer who can bolster their front court this season.
Forward LaRon Smith transferred from the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats following the 2015-16 season, committed to play for Auburn next season.
Auburn will be the third school that Smith has played for at the Division I level, as he played two years with the Georgia State Panthers in a reduced role before transferring to Bethune-Cookman.
Last season with the Wildcats, the 6’8’’ Smith asserted himself as one of the nation’s top shot-blockers. He averaged 3.0 blocks per contest, to go along with 7.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Smith was also effective from the floor, hitting on 58.5% of his field goal attempts.
Due to playing meaningful minutes from the start of last season, Smith was able to showcase his talents on a regular basis, showing teams what he can do on both ends of the court. He showed that he can be an impact player on the defensive end of the floor, while being effective on offense and putting some points on the board.
The commitment of Smith to Auburn helps to bolster the front court next season. Auburn says goodbye to big man Cinmeon Bowers, who graduated following the 2015-16 season. Horace Spencer returns for his sophomore campaign, and the duo of Spencer and Smith will give the Tigers a strong forward pair.
LaRon Smith is the second graduate transfer to join the Tigers for next season, joining Ronnie Johnson, who transferred to Auburn from the Houston Cougars.