Heron Heading Home for the Holidays
Mustapha Heron going for a layup against Eastern Kentucky on November 17 (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)
Auburn’s first ever five-star signee has exceeded expectations ten games into his college career.
Mustapha Heron leads the team in rebounds per game (6.1) and is second on the team in points scored per game (16.1). The freshman guard has hit the 20-point mark three times this season, with his most impressive performance coming against Eastern Kentucky on November 17, where he recorded his first double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds). Heron played a key role in Auburn’s second-half play last Sunday, as he inbounded a pass to TJ Dunans, who scored the game-winning basket as time expired. In the game, Heron scored 19 second-half points to lead the team with 21 points, as Auburn picked up their 8th win of the season. This week, Auburn plays two games: one with Oklahoma, and another with UConn. Those two games will have special meaning to Heron, as his team will travel to his home state to play those two contests, Connecticut. Head Coach Bruce Pearl said that Heron’s hometown of Waterbury came into play when piecing together the 2016-17 schedule. “Originally, when we put the schedule together, I took the Under Armour game in New York (vs. Boston College in Madison Square Garden). That was his (Heron’s) opportunity to go back. Then, the Oklahoma thing surfaced up, and I looked at it because we were already taking him back to New York, as more of an opportunity for our team, than just for Mustapha. To get Mustapha back home three times, it is really significant. Some thought did go into that.” When asked if any family or friends would be attending either game this week, Heron says that he will have plenty of support for both games. “I think there maybe two (buses) coming. It means the world to me knowing that there is support back home.” Waterbury will no doubt be represented this week, but the support runs deeper than attending a few nearby games for Heron’s friends and family. “Everybody is still tuned in. People still talk to me about every game. People are getting the SEC Network, paying for it out of their pockets, just to watch me play. (The support) means a lot.” Heron returns home to Connecticut with his team to face Oklahoma in Uncasville on Wednesday at 7:30 P.M., and will travel to Hartford to battle with power UConn on Friday at 1:30 P.M.