Decision finally reached on Purifoy

AUBURN – The season-long eligibility saga of Auburn freshman forward Danjel Purifoy is finally over.

On Tuesday, it was announced Purifoy will not play this season and will take a redshirt. The news came in an official release from Auburn’s athletics department.

Auburn was informed by the NCAA about Purifoy’s status, who will have four seasons of eligibility remaining once this one concludes. He has been enrolled in classes since the fall semester and has been practicing with the team.

From nearly the moment he stepped on campus, however, Purifoy’s status for the season appeared murky after his ACT score was flagged by the testing center following a substantial increase on his second attempt. At various points in the season, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl had been anticipating a resolution one way or the other.

First was by the beginning of January. Then it was sometime last month. Despite a definitive ruling continually being delayed, Pearl repeated his assertion that a decision would come soon. Tuesday, it finally came.

But it doesn’t change what was a frustrating process for both Pearl and the team. At every opportunity, Pearl has stated he believed Purifoy is the Tigers’ best NBA prospect.

And in a season plagued by injuries and other issues — including a one-game suspension for Cinmeon Bowers and the departure of leading scorer Kareem Canty last week — Pearl said it’s difficult not to contemplate the difference Purifoy could have made.

“I try not to be an excuse maker,” Pearl said in December. “That doesn’t mean I don’t. I just try to look at things I can control and put the blame on myself and be more accountable, but occasionally that just creeps into your mind.”

Purifoy was a 4-star signee in the Tigers’ 2015 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game at Hargrave Military Academy last season. Those numbers built on his junior campaign at Bibb County, when he averaged 17.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.

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