Eastern Kentucky point guard Green to transfer to Auburn

There is no replacing a player of Sharife Cooper’s caliber, but Auburn basketball made a big move to fill the void he left when he declared for the NBA draft last week.

Wendell Green Jr., a transfer point guard from Eastern Kentucky, announced his commitment to Bruce Pearl’s Tigers on Friday. The rising sophomore has four seasons of eligibility remaining.

Green, who is from Detroit, was lightly recruited as a three-star out of La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., earning only one major-conference offer (TCU). But he excelled in his lone season playing for the Colonels.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound guard ranked second on the team scoring 15.8 points on 39.6 percent shooting (36.4 percent from 3-point range). His five assists per game ranked 48th nationally and second among qualified freshmen behind Saint Joseph’s Jordan Hall (5.7).

Cooper averaged 8.1 assists to go along with 20.2 points but played in only 12 of Auburn’s 27 games.

Green played in 29 for Eastern Kentucky, including 25 starts. He scored 13 or fewer points in nine of his first 10 games, but a 30-point performance against Austin Peay on Jan. 2 started an impressive run to close the season. He scored in double figures in 16 of his final 19 games and topped 20 points 10 times, including in each of his final five games.

His averages during that stretch: 24 points on 41.8 percent shooting and 4.2 assists.

Green is the second transfer to commit to Auburn this offseason. He joins Zep Jasper, who averaged 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a combo guard at College of Charleston last season. Both will be candidates to start at point guard.

The Tigers have also lost four players to transfer since December — Justin Powell (Tennessee), Jamal Johnson (UAB), Tyrell Jones and Javon Franklin (South Alabama) — as well as Cooper. Forward JT Thor also declared for the NBA draft, but left open the possibility that he might return for his sophomore season.

The NCAA is widely expected to pass a one-time transfer rule later this month, which would make Green immediately eligible.