In the locker room after his team’s loss at the Final Four, Horace Spencer’s mind went quickly to his young son, Avery.
The final buzzer on his Auburn career had sounded. Amid all the heartbreak and gut-wrench that came with it, Auburn’s towering, 6-foot-8 senior center sat crumpled in front of his locker, suddenly thrust into his future.
“I’ve got a mouth to feed, so I’ve got to find a job immediately,” Spencer said at the time.
Now, he’s found his job.
Spencer signed on this week to play professional basketball overseas with Atenas Cordoba in Argentina in a pro league. Horace inked his deal alongside several former Auburn men’s basketball and baseball stars who’ve made the jump to the next level in recent days.
Spencer’s leap will take him the farthest from home, and will push him into the wild world of overseas ball in what’s unfamiliar territory for most Auburn fans — but he’ll grip his bags and head there on a mission. His son Avery, seen bouncing around warm-ups at Auburn Arena last season, turned two years old this spring.
He is one of five Auburn basketball players to figure out their first step in pro basketball after last week’s NBA Draft, and all as three Auburn baseball players found their spots after the team’s run at the College World Series ended just a day before that.
Chuma Okeke was drafted by the Orlando Magic last Thursday, before Jared Harper signed with the Suns and Bryce Brown signed with the Sacramento Kings — all before Malik Dunbar’s name was listed on the Golden State Warriors’ summer league roster that was released Wednesday.
In the same hour Wednesday afternoon, former Auburn baseball shortstop Will Holland tweeted out a photo of him signing his deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Holland was drafted in the fifth round by the Twins back in early June, before Auburn pitcher Davis Daniel was drafted in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Angels and fellow pitcher Elliott Anderson was drafted in the 23rd round by the Kansas City Royals. All three are expected to leave Auburn early and sign.
“To the Auburn family, I can’t thank you enough,” Anderson posted to Twitter after making his decision. “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger!”
Okeke was the first men’s basketball player drafted out of Auburn since 2001. He was picked No. 16 overall and could sign a two-year deal worth more than $6.3 million according to Sportrac.com projections based on pick value.
Holland signed with the Twins on a $575,000 signing bonus, per MLB.com writer Jim Callis, way up from his projected pick value around $360,000.
They lead Auburn’s newest batch of pro players — all chasing their dreams at the next level, and all led by their own motivations.
Dunbar is a father, like Spencer.
Among many who’ve played overseas, Auburn basketball alum Kenny Gabriel has played in Greece and Turkey since he left the Plains in 2012. Auburn alum Tay Waller has enjoyed a long career in Eastern Europe since leaving Auburn in 2010.
“Wherever the wind takes me, I’m probably going to go,” Spencer said, back in that locker room in April. “I do have a family to take care of. That’s my focus right now moving forward. I’ve got to take care of Avery now.”