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Mustapha Heron: Not Your Average Five-Star

Freshman Mustapha Heron (white shirt) (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

Auburn’s first ever five-star signee is on campus, and his name is Mustapha Heron.

The 6’5” 215-pound freshman from Waterbury, Connecticut has made a splash in the preseason, by being an all-around great teammate.

“Mustapha Heron is a five-star, not because he is a freak. He is a five-star, because he is a disciplined student-athlete.” says Head Coach Bruce Pearl of the freshman. Pearl says that Heron is the type of player that trains, takes care of his body, and even comes to the gym at 6:30 every morning to improve his already impressive skillset. However, some of his routine has changed recently.

“(The managers) told me to take a little break.” Heron said about having to ease up on coming to the gym in the early morning hours. “They want me to save my body, so I try to find other things. I try to get more sleep, and then I map my day out, and try to get to the gym from there.”

When he was able to get to the gym, Heron says that he worked on many aspects, including rebounding, defense, and ball control, everything he can do to become an all-around player.

When a five-star athlete reports to campus, especially in basketball, many think that the player is born with those skills, and does not require much coaching. That is not the case for Heron. He has worked hard for his five-star rating, and his scholarship to Auburn. He says that his work ethic comes from his father.

“Growing up, he was hard on me.” Heron said of his father. “He told me that you only get good from hard work.”

His dad also influenced him to play for Coach Bruce Pearl, even before he was named the head coach at Auburn.

“When he was at Tennessee, my dad told me that he wanted me to play for him.” Heron said of his father, “kind of ironic how it all worked out.”

Heron is definitely a player that Auburn fans will be excited about. However, there are other freshman, including Danjel Purifoy, Anfernee McLemore, and Jared Harper that are also doing big things in preseason practice. With the great class of freshmen coming in, and other big-named recruits that have committed, some fans believe that the culture of Auburn Basketball is about to become an upward trend. Heron agrees.

“People are not used to winning, as far as basketball goes. It is more of a football atmosphere. I think that we are going to change the culture around here.”

Heron has confidence in fellow freshmen, Harper and McLemore. Heron says that Harper’s style of play makes everyone’s job easier, where he mentioned quickness, and his ability to defend. Heron has played against McLemore in AAU ball over the years, and says that he is not surprised that he McLemore is doing well in preseason practice.

Heron, a five-star guard from Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Connecticut, chose Auburn over Alabama, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, and a host of other schools.

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