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Johni Broome officially announces return to Auburn for final season: Analysis and more inside

Justin Hokansonby:Justin Hokanson04/17/24


AUBURN — Auburn All-American center Johni Broome has officially announced his return to the Tigers’ program for one more season.

Broome was one of the more efficient stars in the country last season, averaging 16.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in 24.8 minutes last season. He’s the only SEC Tournament MVP to average less than 25 minutes per tournament game since at least 2003.

Sources tell Auburn Live that head coach Bruce Pearl met with the Broome family in Florida in the days after the season ended to Yale in the NCAA Tournament, and the Broome family was back in Auburn this week (week of announcement) to finalize Broome’s return. Throughout the process, all indications via sources was that Broome was leaning towards returning to the Tigers for one more season, but needed to weight his options.

Broome weighed turning professional versus returning to Auburn. There were other elite college programs that tried to entice Broome into the transfer portal, but sources told Auburn Live that Broome and his camp never seriously considered transferring. It was either turning pro or returning to the Tigers. Per sources, Broome and his family love Auburn and the coaching staff.


Last season, Broome contemplated turning professional after stellar performances at the G League Elite Camp and the NBA Draft Combine. Broome’s performance at the G League camp earned him an invite to the draft combine.

Broome told Auburn Live last year upon his return, “I always wanted to play in the NBA. Hopefully, my goal is to get drafted and walk off the stage in the first round, early second. I felt like coming back to college, working on my body a little bit more.”

He’ll return to college for now one more season.

Broome was a consensus All-American after the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) selected him to its respective third teams.

He became just the second Auburn men’s basketball player in school history to be named an All-American in the same season by The Associated Press, NABC, USBWA and The Sporting News next to Jabari Smith in 2021-22.

Johni Broome vs. Georgia (Photo by Matt Rudolph/Auburn Live)

Per Torvik (T-Rank) analytics, Broome possessed the third-best box score plus/minus average in all of college basketball last season. The Tigers were +13.3 points per game when Broome was on the floor.

Per Evan Miya’s player ratings, Broome ended the season as the No. 8 overall player in college basketball and the No. 3-rated center behind All-Americans Zach Edey from Purdue and Donovan Clingan from UConn.

Broome made a big jump with his three-point shooting percentage from his junior to senior season, going from 29 percent behind the arc in 2022-23 to shooting 35 percent from three in 2023-24. He also bounced back from shooting 56 percent from the FT line in 22-23 to shooting 63 percent from the line in 23-24.

Arguably Broome’s biggest improvements and contributions to last year’s success was his ability to pass the ball. Broome had an assist rate of 19 last season (assisting on 19 percent of Auburn’s possessions) compared to assist rates of 12, 11 and seven his first three seasons in college. In 11 of Auburn’s 35 games last season, Broome had three assists or more.

Broome scored 20+ points eight times last season, with a season high of 30 points at home against Virginia Tech. He had 14 games of 10+ rebounds, with a season high of 14 rebounds at Alabama. And he had 15 games of three blocks or more, with a season high of five blocks against Vanderbilt, and in both games against Alabama.

The SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player, SEC All-Tournament Team, NABC All-District First Team, All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Defensive Team ended the season on a 26-game double-digit scoring streak, which was among the top-20 best streaks in college basketball at season’s end.

Broome, who transferred to Auburn from Morehead State ahead of the 2022-23 season and helped the Tigers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2023, is the third AP All-American of the coach Bruce Pearl era along with Smith and Walker Kessler.

Impact of Johni Broome’s return to Auburn’s roster

Broome’s return was anticipated, but until it was official, there was some anxiousness. On the court, Broome will be a returning All-American and receive all kinds of preseason national and conference accolades. He may start at center, but there’s also the potential of starting the game at the power forward position, with Dylan Cardwell at center. That will work itself out in the offseason and during preseason practice next fall. Broome can rotate at the four and five positions, playing mostly the center position, but certainly getting rotations at the four. It was part of the plan pitched to both Broome and Cardwell, per sources. Broome’s return gives Auburn one of the better rosters in the SEC in 2024-25, and likely cements the Tigers as a preseason Top-10-12 team nationally entering next season.

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