On Monday, Auburn placed two members of the basketball support staff on administrative leave amid the internal investigation of the program following the arrest and subsequent firing of Chuck Person.
The school released a statement saying Jordan VerHulst and Frankie Sullivan are on leave “until further notice based upon the University’s ongoing investigation into the men’s basketball program.”
Bruce Pearl, however, is focused on Auburn's next opponent, Indiana State, and nothing else.
“Losing two staff members, even though they're on paid indefinite suspension or indefinite suspension, that hurts,” Pearl said. “Those guys are part of the family. It tugs at your heart. It's disruptive to the kids, but that's what going through this at this time does. You have to truly take it one day at a time.”
The Tigers are coming off a 102-74 blowout win against Norfolk State. They will travel to Charleston, South Carolina, for their next contest, where they will play three games in three days in the Charleston Classic. Pearl said there won’t be any roster changes leading into the tournament, and that Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy will not travel with the team until they are ruled eligible.
“We looked at it and we thought it was a field where pretty much any team could beat us, but we could beat any team,” Pearl said. “Right now the field is undefeated with Temple not having played. These teams are going to be much better than Norfolk State was.”
Pearl did say he had an ‘idea’ of what Sullivan and VerHulst did, but would not give any more details. He also stated that there are still open lines of communication between him and Auburn’s administration but declined to confirm if it that involved president Steven Leath or his office.
Auburn faces Indiana State on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. CT in the opening game of the Charleston Classic. The Sycamores have already played Illinois in a scrimmage, Purdue in an exhibition game, and beat Indiana soundly in their season opener. The other teams in the tournament include Old Dominion, Temple, Clemson, Ohio, Dayton and Hofstra.
“I think, even though it’s early in the season, that we have enough in [the playbook] to be able to match up with anything,” Pearl said. “We’re going to find out a lot about our team this weekend.”