Yohan Traore, a 5-star 'combo forward,' has been signed by Auburn basketball

Yohan Traore, a 5-star 'combo forward,' has been signed by Auburn basketball ...

Late Thursday night, Bruce Pearl gave up a gentle "boom." Auburn's head coach may finally commemorate the "really good piece" he could only mention last week.

Yohan Traore, the nation's number 15 overall player, received his signed letter of intent Thursday night on the second day of the spring signing period for basketball. Pearl discretely acknowledged the signing with a tweet, and Auburn officially announced it Friday.

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I am so pleased to welcome Yohan to the Auburn family, said Pearl. I have a great respect for athletes like Yohan who come to the United States to pursue their academic and athletic dreams, far away from their families. Talk about a cultural fit to our program. Yohan is humble and hungry. He is incredibly disciplined, a hard worker, and has tremendous potential because of his effort, his skill level, and his ability. Assistant coach Wes Flanigan performed an outstanding job of his recruitment to Auburn.

Traore is the third member of Auburn's 2022 class, joining Chance Westry, a four-star swingman, and three-star point guard Tre Donaldson, both of whom signed with the Tigers back in November. According to the 247Sports Composite team rankings, Auburn's class is ranked 13th in the country, third in the SEC.

Traore is the second highest rated Auburn recruit in history, behind only Jabari Smith, the consensus All-American and national Freshman of the Year, who led the Tigers to their first-ever No. 1 ranking and a regular-season SEC title last season. Traore is the fourth five-star prospect to join Auburn during Pearl's tenure as head coach. He has also been involved in the program during the Pearl era, although he spent his freshman season at North Carolina before joining Auburn as a transfer

Traore's contract with Auburn ends on March 31; nine of the top 10 high school signees in program history have been under Pearl's watch. Korvotney Barber, the only exception, has joined the program this year, with Westry, the nation's number one overall player this cycle, stepping in just behind the Tigers' four all-time five-star signings.

Auburn adds a versatile frontcourt piece in Traore, helping to alleviate the aftermath of Smith and Kessler's departures, both of whom were declared for the NBA Draft following their breakout seasons on the Plains.

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound quarterback from France believes he can continue to develop as a stretch-four but might now play in Auburn's lineup this season. He has the capability, the skill, and his ability to play both positions in the frontcourt, but he still needs to fine-tune some areas of his game to be effective at strength forward in Pearl's system.

Traore has the ability to stretch the floor and rebound from 15 feet and beyond, but Smith hasn't had the skill he has ever experienced. He is likely to improve playing with his back to the basket as well, but he excels in attacking the rim as both a diver off the bench and as a ballhandler, and he can finish with both authority and finesse at the hoop.

Traore has the flexibility and footwork to switch to smaller players on the perimeter, but also the ability to length and instincts to be an elite rim defender. Auburn believes he can transform into a superior stretch-four with a good grasp for the offense, and who is well-known inside-out.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter.

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