Nashville, Tenn. (EETV) - Amidst a federal investigation involving one of his staff, Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl is heading into the 2017-2018 season with many unknowns.
"I would imagine as we continue over the next few weeks we're gonna get, we're gonna have more information," Pearl said regarding any timeline to the investigation.
The investigation dominated the discussion with Pearl at the SEC Tipoff '18, to which Pearl said,
"If it involves anything with the FBI or the investigation I'm not going to have any comment."
The investigation puts multiple his players in question, leaving more questions than answers regarding their eligibility and the status of the program.
"As of yesterday's practice, every player that we have on the roster was in practice," said Pearl.
Pearl added that freshman Austin Wiley was unable to practice due to an injury suffered earlier this year, but is on track to begin practicing soon.
"We expect him to be back in about 10 days to 2 weeks," said Pearl.
Pearl said that the investigation has not been a factor with the team as they prepare for their first exhibition game on Nov. 2 against Barry.
"Once you get in season and you start practicing 5 days a week, 3 or 4 weight training sessions, some film, and the class... they're busy," Pearl said about his players. "They're really getting after it."
Pearl also mentioned that the coaches and the university are unable to communicate with their players about the investigation, leaving little team discussion about it.
"We can't really talk to the team about the investigation," said Pearl. "You know I like to talk, so we talk about everything else."
Despite the stormy cloud that looms over the Auburn basketball program, Pearl is still optimistic about the upcoming season.
"We are now competitive," Pearl said regarding his team. "You got to be competitive first before you can actually win."
Auburn returns 4 key players (Austin Wiley, Mustafa Herron, Danjel Purifoy, and Jared Harper) from last season.
"We return 73% of our scoring," said Pearl. "We feel like we're in a different position now than we've been."
Auburn's will tip-off their regular schedule Nov. 10 against Norfolk State with their first test of the season coming Nov. 16-19 at the Charleston Classic.