2017-18 SEC Player Preview: Danjel Purifoy

In Features by Ken Cross

Danjel Purifoy joined Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, and Jared Harper as the top four scoring leaders for Auburn last season. 

As all four enter their sophomore season, they will once again be the focal point on a team that will create a myriad of matchup issues for opponents.

Purifoy has an NBA body and played mostly power forward a year ago. Bruce Pearl says that now Purifoy will be used more at a small forward position where he can face up and use his constantly improving jump shot. 

Purifoy shot 36.9 percent from 3-point range last season and with Wiley and freshman Chuma Okeke set for the boxes, Purifoy will loosen defenses with his ability to score on the perimeter.

Pearl wants him to improve on the defensive end of the floor and adjust to the physicality of the game. 

If he does that, the 6-7 swingman will increase his chances of making an impact at the next level.

Inside the numbers

Purifoy averaged 28.7 minutes per game and flourished off the dribble when he was isolated. 

Part of that was the 3-point game which he showed consistently throughout the year. He made 88 percent of his free throws, but had the fourth most attempts on the squad (91). 

His length also makes him a threat in the passing lane as he had 41 steals last season. 

As he similarly will play more on the perimeter as Auburn goes man-to-man, that length could help him improve that number as well.

What they’re saying

“He has really good speed, athleticism and quickness. The biggest area he has to improve on is the defensive area, and the physicality of the game.

I think playing against players his own size now is going to allow him to do that.”

– Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl on Danjel Purifoy on the Marching to Madness podcast this summer

Analysis

Purifoy looks like he may be ready for the next level, and with another year at Auburn in such a player-friendly program, he should be able to learn the game even more in depth and add facets that will make him a tougher cover.

That improvement should translate to making Auburn an even better team from top to bottom, and one that will likely be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament berth.

As the Tigers embark on what many think will be their best season in the last 30 years, Purifoy will without question be the one of the catalysts for success.

And if his game meets expectations, he could rise into SEC Player of the Year conversations based on his enormous amount of potential.

Ken Cross has a plethora of experience over a 20-plus year period in both print and broadcast journalism. He has worked in some capacity for ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio, Yahoo! Sports Radio and many more. He’s currently the founder and editor of CollegeHoopsWatch.com and the co-host of the Marching to Madness podcast.