In his senior season, Samir Doughty averaged 16.7 points and 2.7 assists in 31 games, while helping lead Auburn to an overall record of 25-6 and a 12-6 record in the SEC.
The SEC took note of Doughty's play, and he earned First-Team All-SEC honors at the end of the season. After a standout season, the term "underrated" is one that most do not use in describing Doughty.
Doughty's former teammate and member of the @auburnbench on TikTok, Chase Maasdorp, is not one of those people. It is not Doughty's on-court game that Maasdorp thinks is underrated, but his dance moves.
Not only does Maasdorp believe that Doughty’s dance moves are underrated but also the best on the team.
"Samir did the best," Maasdorp said. "It was low-key though you have to go back and watch it. He did this one thing on the beat drop, that was perfect. So, it was subtle, but I think Samir."
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Maasdorp is not the only member of the Auburn bench on TikTok, as he is one of seven members. In its first year, the group consisted of Will Macoy, Chandler Leopard, Thomas Collier, Preston Cook, Myles Parker, Lior Berman and Maasdorp.
The group is made up of all Auburn basketball walk-ons, except for Macoy, who earned a scholarship during his junior season.
While fans might not know the members of the Auburn bench for their on-court performances, the group is carving out a fanbase on the social media platform TikTok.
Maasdorp and Leopard don't like to say that the account is big-time. They feel they are just providing a niche where they give viewers some humor and show that walk-ons can play too, albeit at a different level than 5-star recruits.
They might be humble when discussing the account and the group's success, but the bench TikTok page speaks for itself when looking at the account’s success.
Currently, the group has 85.4 thousand followers on the app, giving them a more significant following on the platform than Auburn's official TikTok which has 51.9 thousand followers.
The Auburn bench TikTok does not just have a large following; they also have had some very successful videos with three of their videos crossing the 1 million view threshold.
This success may have never happened since Maasdorp was on the fence about creating one.
"We had always kind of joked around about how we should use our platform more, and we're all just kind of goofy," Maasdorp said. "...I was always kind of on the line of like, I really wanted to do it, but I thought it was going to be embarrassing, so I never did it."
Macoy talked Maasdorp and the others into turning the group's discussions into an actuality, and the group made an account on TikTok.
After making an account, the bench group did something very familiar to members of a basketball team and watched film. They watched TikTok's and learned from Leopard, who already had an account before arriving on the Plains.
"When Chandler came on the team, he had a TikTok," Maasdorp said. "So, when he got on the team, we always messed with him about having a TikTok. And then he had a video that did pretty good, so then we just started watching TikTok's from there. I feel like Chandler showed it to us a lot."
For many college students, trying to find a balance between school and social life can be a challenge. Student-athletes though, have another piece to fit into the time management puzzle with practices, workouts and games.
So, creating content for social media on top of practices, workouts and school could present a challenge. Not only do you have to put out content, but also content that people will find interesting and engaging.
The group does not have a method to the madness when it comes to making videos, but Maasdorp felt like coming up with ideas was his biggest contribution.
“I feel like that’s my biggest role,” Maasdorp said. “This season, I tore my ACL, so I redshirted this season. And so, if I was ever bored, the team was in film or something, I would just think of a TikTok idea or something goofy that we could do.”
While it may seem that success came overnight for the group after they started putting videos, that was not the case. The first three videos by @auburnbench were moderately successful, but the group’s first big video was their fourth which currently sits at 1.9 million views.
Seeing the video become a success and even being posted by other social media accounts was a memorable experience for the group. After the success of the video, Maasdorp felt like they could carve out a niche on the platform.
“I went into the locker room and we had posted the video right before practice and I went into the locker room and checked my phone real quick and my phone was starting to get crazy notifications,” Maasdorp said. “I clicked on the video and at the time our best video had 300 views or something, and within 20 minutes we were at 15,000 views. I came out of the locker room and went straight to the guys and was like, ‘It’s taking off, it’s taking off.’"
After the TikTok page started to be shared, word traveled in the locker room and other teammates wanted a shout out from the Auburn bench. On TikTok, giving other users shout outs is something that you can’t really do on the platform, but you can include other people in videos.
The group may be called the Auburn bench, but they featured teammates in videos like Babatunde “Stretch” Akingbola and Isaac Okoro. Some might assume that there are some differences amongst the team, but Maasdorp says that everyone on the team treats each other the same.
“They don’t care if you’re a walk-on or a scholarship player,” Maasdorp said. “Sure, they’re getting more playing time and stuff, but the players themselves there’s no hierarchy. …Even though this whole bench thing makes us look like our own kind of entity, I would say that the locker room is really close no matter what role you have.”
They didn’t just have teammates join in on the fun with the videos, as the group got guest appearances from people like Charles Barkley and Madi Prewett.
While getting guest appearances from two local Auburn celebrities was exciting, Leopard is hoping to get Bruce Pearl in a video.
“He’s probably my dream guest,” Leopard said. “I would love to see him in a video, I think he would do good.”
The dream of getting Pearl to do a video might not be that far-fetched as Maasdorp says that Pearl is a fan of the videos.
“Bruce loves them,” Maasdorp says. “We showed him the videos right when they started taking off and he was cracking up. So, I don’t think it’s a far-fetched idea to see if we can get him in one.”
As the group looks toward the future of the Auburn bench TikTok, new members will have to be added. Macoy and Collier are graduating, while Parker has entered his name into the transfer portal.
This is not the only challenge that the group faced; they also had to deal with the season-ending prematurely. Still, having to face challenges hasn’t discouraged the group from continuing to put videos out.
Leopard understands that with people enjoying the content, it is important for the group to keep providing the content.
“I think it is because we’ve got a pretty good amount of followers and I know they like to watch our videos and stuff,” Leopard said. “I think it’s important just to keep up with everything and keep posting as much as we can.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman