Auburn News and Notes: 6/28/2017 Edition
Auburn Media file
We start things out this morning on a sad note. War Eagle VII, or Nova as most know him, will retire from major events. Nova was born in Montgomery Zoo in 1999 and was named War Eagle VII on November 11, 2006 as he sailed over the field for the first time against Georgia. According to AL.com, Nova has been diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat.
Nova’s physicians say he would be at extreme risk with prolonged exposure to high heart rate activities. Chiefly among those are Auburn’s pregame rituals, culminating in the famous “War Eagle” tradition of the circling of Jordan-Hare stadium by one of the majestic symbols of Auburn. This tradition has been long celebrated as one of the best traditions in sports, regularly making top-ten, even top-five rankings. It is truly the most unique of traditions.
A long comment on the AL.com article by a reader who goes by Derkong said: “War Eagle! But I have to say if I was an eagle I would rather go out flying than stuck in a cage for several more years…”
While fans may be split on whether this would be the right approach, it would certainly fit with the generally accepted War Eagle Legend, as found on AuburnTigers.com.
Former Auburn softball players have been involved in some prestigious events recently. Kasey Cooper, Auburn’s most recognized and possibly greatest player in program history, played in international competition in Tokyo where the USA National Softball team dropped the championship game to Japan. USA has been dominant for many, many seasons but entered the All-Star series in Tokyo ranked No. 2, just behind the hosts. Many believe this was a precursor to the 2020 Olympic Championship. Japan needed a walk-off grand slam to shut the door on Team USA. Cooper played in two games and recorded only a walk while striking out twice in her four at bats.
In National Pro Fastpitch , the USSSA Pride took the championship. Angel Bunner, Auburn’s six-year pro, added two innings of relief to beat the winless Beijing Eagles for the USSSA Pride in the series finale. Haley Fagan pinch ran for her sister, Sami, in a win for the Racers against the aforementioned Eagles although she was hitless as the designated hitter in the early victory against the Pride.
Emily Carosone was left hitless in a split series against the Texas Charge. Auburn’s Jade Rhodes has been unable to crack the starting lineup for the ScrapYard Dawgs. More info on Auburn’s past players can be found at Profastpitch.com.
Football and basketball news after the jump:
Auburn basketball‘s Austin Wiley has made the U19 Team USA. While Auburn fans are certainly proud of Wiley’s accomplishments, they should be even happier about the opportunity for Wiley to have extra time to develop. His time on the court with both elite coaching and players will almost certainly pay massive dividends for Auburn’s 2017-2018 basketball season.
Even with Wiley being thrust into the lineup in December of 2016, Auburn still didn’t have an SEC-level big man, which forced the Tigers to rely on the long ball yet another season. When the threes dropped, Auburn won. When the long range shooting went cold, the losses piled up.
Wiley won gold in U17, and he joins an elite class of Auburn greats. He has done nothing but impress people, and even his physique has drawn comments.
Chuma Okeke, who made the first cut, suffered a bone bruise. He sat out two days and ultimately flew back to Auburn to recover. While this is the right move for all parties involved, having a second Auburn player on the roster would have tied Kentucky with the most. Regardless, the presence of both players speaks volumes to coaches Bruce and Stephen Pearl’s recruiting ability.
Danjel Purifoy is looking at moving from power forward to small forward, thanks to the continued development of Okeke. Purifoy, who shot 37 percent from downtown and 88 percent from the charity stripe, has all the physical tools and at 6′ 8″ is looking to be a massive mismatch for most opponents. The only tool he may be missing is the attitude. It seemed that Purifoy took games off last season, and he didn’t play defense for long stretches.
Auburn football has secured a commitment from the nephew of Auburn great, Bo Jackson. However, the fact that Shedrick Jackson verbally committed to the Tigers is no surprise as his other offers came from Mississippi State, Memphis, and Georgia Tech. Jackson had a fine season on the way to a 7A State Championship for McGill-Toolen, but his 43 catches for 661 yards and four TDs aren’t exactly earth-shattering numbers.
What we’re hearing about Jackson seems to reveal that the 6′ 2″, 200 pound receiver has yet to show his full potential. The question is, is that a reason for concern due to effort? He is the seventh commitment for Auburn and plans to enroll early.