Auburn is adding another talented big man to the team.
Former North Carolina center Walker Kessler announced his commitment to Auburn on Monday via a post on social media. The 7-foot-1, 245-pound Newnan, Ga. native has four years of eligibility remaining and would be able to play immediately if the NCAA passes a one-time transfer exemption later this month as expected.
Kessler becomes the third transfer Auburn has added this offseason along with Eastern Kentucky point guard Wendell Green Jr. and College of Charleston guard Zep Jasper.
Kessler was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2020. He’ll become the fifth McDonald’s All-American to come through Auburn in program history when he signs.
“I am excited to play for a great coach at an awesome school and be close to home and my family. War eagle!” Kessler wrote in the post announcing his decision.
A former standout at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Kessler played in 29 games for the Tar Heels as a true freshman during the 2020-21 season. He earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors on March 1 for his performance in North Carolina’s victory over No. 11 Florida State after scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking four shots.
Kessler ended the season averaging 4.4 points per game. He also pulled down 94 rebounds and shot 57.8 from the floor for a North Carolina team that won 18 games and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kessler announced he was entering the transfer portal on March 22. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl tweeted, “Boom” on Monday presumably in response to Kessler’s announcement.
Kessler was a five-star recruit per 247 Sports and was considered the best player in the state of Georgia when he signed with the Tar Heels as part of the class of 2020. His family has a long legacy of playing in the SEC, as his father Chad, uncle Alec and older brother Houston all played at Georgia.
Kessler is the latest in a flurry of roster moves the Tigers have faced this offseason.
While the team also added Green and Jasper, it lost freshman point guard Sharife Cooper – who has declared for the 2021 NBA draft – and could lose freshman forward JT Thor, who has declared for the draft but could ultimately return to the team. The Tigers have also lost guards Justin Powell and Jamal Johnson, who have transferred to Tennessee and UAB, respectively.
The Tigers’ trio of transfers will join five-star power forward Jabari Smith Jr. and four-star shooting guard Trey Alexander as the new players on Auburn’s 2021-22 roster.