AUBURN — Allen Flanigan is out for an indefinite period of time as Auburn basketball's 2022-23 preseason practice begins.
The senior wing is out for "family, personal reasons," with no timeframe for return, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Tuesday, declining to share further information.
Flanigan is the son of Auburn assistant Wes Flanigan. A multi-year starter, he was the Tigers' leading scorer in 2020-21, but his role as a scorer decreased the next season after recovering from an offseason Achilles injury that sidelined him throughout nonconference play.
Flanigan started during the SEC slate, averaging 6.3 points per game on 39.5% shooting from the field and 20.5% from 3-point range. He had averaged 14.3 points in 2020-21.
Pearl continued to start Flanigan because Auburn valued his defensive production.
"He's physically much better (this season). He's physically almost back to 100%, and I think that's where you're going to have to evaluate him," Pearl said.
Auburn basketball's guards add layers, remove pounds
Having top-three NBA Draft pick Jabari Smith on the roster last season meant unusually high exposure to national media − especially for a less traditional power such as Auburn.
The most common refrain in the hot-take industry was that Auburn's guard play was limiting Smith in his pursuit of the top pick. Smith ultimately went No. 3 to the Houston Rockets.
Those guards heard.
"We've seen a lot of things on ESPN and all those types of things that Auburn guards weren't a great fit, and they didn't pass the ball and all type of things," said point guard Zep Jasper, who ironically started the whole season because of his passing and defense.
Jasper, K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green Jr. form the trio of guards in question. All are back this season, although Pearl says he still isn't sure how he will arrange lineups after adding freshmen Chance Westry and Tre Donaldson.
When the national spotlight shined brightest late in the season, the backcourt (and everyone else) did struggle as Auburn was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"A lot of teams started figuring us out at the end," Jasper said. "They figured out we weren't a great 3-point shooting team."
Indeed, underdog Texas A&M packed the paint against Auburn in the SEC Tournament and forced the Tigers to settle outside while Johnson and Green were in the middle of extended droughts.
Jasper identified Auburn's weaknesses as "making sure we make the right passes, the right plays at the right time." That's mostly true for Johnson and Green, the more ball-dominant guards. But Pearl wants Jasper to be a more aggressive shooter: He shot 37% from 3-point range last year but only on 71 attempts.
Johnson, meanwhile, has lost weight and says he feels more mobile. "I'm explosive: You'll see a few more dunks," joked the 6-foot guard.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn basketball: Allen Flanigan out indefinitely for personal reasons