AUBURN, Ala. – Freshman All-SEC Mustapha Heron will not test the NBA waters and will return to Auburn for his sophomore season, the Tigers’ leading scorer announced on Tuesday.
The Waterbury, Conn., native broke Auburn freshman records for 32 starts and scoring in double figures to start a season in his first 25 games, reaching double figures in all but one of the Tigers’ 32 games.
Heron ranked ninth in the SEC averaging 15.2 points and ranked 14th with 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor, 42.3 percent from 3-point range and 77.0 percent from the foul line.
He was Auburn’s first Freshman All-SEC selection since DeWayne Reed in 2007.
Heron recorded three double-doubles on the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds vs. Missouri in the SEC Tournament, 24 points and 10 rebounds vs. Eastern Kentucky and 15 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and four steals vs. Oklahoma.
“Mustapha had a terrific freshman year improving in so many areas and along with his teammates had the second best season we have had in the last 14,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl.
“After a careful study of his draft position for this year and next, he and his family have decided not to declare, return for his sophomore season and help lead the resurgence in Auburn basketball. He is going to play in the NBA someday soon, just not next season.”
He was named to the Cancun Challenge all-tournament team, averaging 15.0 points and 5.5 rebounds vs. No. 17 Purdue and Texas Tech.
At Auburn’s awards banquet, he received the most prestigious award, the Paul Lambert/Tommy Joe Eagles Memorial Trophy for Leadership, along with being named to the SEC Community Service Team. He received Auburn Athletics’ Male Rookie of the Year award for all sports at the AUSPY banquet.
Heron created the Mustapha Heron Skills Academy and Reading Program for students at his high school, Sacred Heart, and students in surrounding counties. He has worked with the police department in his hometown on a weapons buy-back program. Players who test the NBA waters by submitting paperwork to be eligible for the draft and do not hire an agent have until May 24 to remove their name from the draft.