By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - For Auburn's basketball players, Wednesday's Pro Day was the equivalent of a job interview.
"When we have career day in the [Raymond J. Harbert College] of Business, you've got the major accounting firms that will show up," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "When you have a career day for the [Samuel Ginn College] of Engineering and the people who are hiring to build bridges, they show up and try to hire Auburn's graduates, that's what we had here today."
For two-and-a-half hours, the Tigers ran individual and team drills in front of 34 talent evaluators from 24 NBA teams.
"We've never had a pro day here because we've never had this number of guys who need to be evaluated," Pearl said.
After the evaluation period, Pearl visited with many of the NBA scouts.
"They liked how hard they played, how much they competed, how unselfish they were, the size -- some of the guys have filled out," Pearl said. "And they pay close attention to progress."
Pearl told Auburn's players that Pro Day is only one aspect of the evaluation process.
"You can play your way off their roster today, but you're not going to play your way on anybody's roster," Pearl said, relaying his message. "Even if you don't have a great day today and they come back in a month or two, they need to see progress, because they're drafting on potential, not just productivity.
"They didn't have to play their way in the league today. They just had to do enough to go, 'Okay, I like what I see, and now, let's see where we are in a month, let's see where we are in the season.'"
That season, Pearl's fourth at Auburn, is fast approaching. After a Nov. 2 exhibition at Auburn Arena against Barry, the Tigers tip off at home against Norfolk State in the opener on Nov. 10.
Auburn's roster, Pearl says, is his deepest yet on the Plains.
"I'm not sure I could pick five guys right now and guarantee that those five guys would beat the five guys that I didn't pick," Pearl said. "There's a lot of parity out there, a lot of depth."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer