Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown returning to Auburn, Heron to transfer

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Austin Wiley (50). Auburn men’s basketball vs Georgia on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics

Tuesday morning was a busy day for the Auburn Basketball program as multiple players made their decisions about the NBA Draft process. 

Center Austin WIley and guard Bryce Brown have both said they will be returning to Auburn for the 2018-19 season. Guard Mustapha Heron will withdraw from the NBA Draft but seek a transfer from Auburn. 

“I’d like to thank the Auburn Family for the support, as well as my coaches and teammates for an incredible season,” Wiley said. “I’m happy to be back. It’s time to get to work.”

“I’m really excited to have a chance to coach Austin again this season,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “He has a chance to be one of the most dominant big men in college basketball this season. He’s such a great kid and a hard worker. All of his dreams for greatness at Auburn and beyond are still alive and well. I also want to thank the Auburn Family for their patience and the support of Austin and his family during this past season.”

During his freshman campaign, Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23 games. He joined the Tigers in the middle of the season and was selected as the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week Jan. 23 after averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in wins against Alabama and LSU.

He became the second consensus 5-star signee in program history after finishing his high school career at Calusa Prep. During the summer of 2016, he was a gold medal winner for Team USA in the FIBA Men’s U17 World Championship in Zaragoza, Spain.

Bryce Brown is returning to school for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters for the first time. 

Brown averaged 15.9 points per game in 2017-18, good enough to make him the highest returning scorer for the Tigers. Brown reached 1,000 points for his Auburn career last season. 

“It has been a dream of mine to play in the NBA one day,” Brown said in a tweeted graphic. “I learned a lot about my game throughout this process and I want to thank everyone who helped me get to this point in my career. 

“With that said, after talking with my family and coaches, I have decided to return for my senior season at Auburn.” 

“Bryce has moved the needle as much as any player in college basketball,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “To go from Auburn being the only SEC school to offer him and in three years be one of 30 players on the Naismith Trophy Watch List is truly remarkable. His ability to work hard, as well as accept coaching and changing roles has made him an All-SEC player.”

Brown paced the Tigers to a program record 324 makes from downtown, smashing the previous mark of 289 last season. Brown buried 107 3s – the second-most in single-season history – and moved into second on the career 3-pointers list with 241 buckets from behind the arc.

Mustapha Heron will also withdraw from the NBA Draft, but will seek a transfer closer to home according to a report from The New York Times’ Adam Zagoria

Heron led the Tigers in scoring in 2017-18 with 16.4 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. He will reportedly file for a hardship waiver to be eligible immediately at his new school. 

Heron, a Connecticut native, is seeking to be closer to home and his mother, who has been sick for a year, according to a conversation Zagoria had with Heron’s father, Bryan. 

Auburn captured its third SEC title this past season with an overall mark of 26-8, including 13-5 in league play. The Tigers were also selected for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.

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