Charles Barkley was a popular figure in the stands during Auburn’s SEC tournament game against South Carolina. (Steve Helber / AP)

As if it weren’t exciting enough to consider the unscripted fun and ridiculous haberdashery Bruce Pearl will bring to Auburn in his return to college coaching, there’s this: He wants to bring noted former Tiger Charles Barkley closer to the program somehow.

He’ll be interviewing candidates for assistant coaching positions and he might as well amble over and chat with Sir Charles, who will be on the premises in his capacity as a TV blabber.

“There’s been a lot of transition in men’s basketball coaches, and I’d like to be successful enough to be here for a while and build the brand of Auburn basketball back,” Pearl said in an interview with the Associated Press. “One of the things that you do that is by honoring the past. I’m going to work at my relationship with Charles Barkley and make sure he has access to this program. Probably first before that, he’s going to want to see us do something before he’s going to come around.”

The Round Mound of Rebound hasn’t exactly been a stranger at the school. He was hanging out with students, singing and buying drinks, at a bar after Auburn’s Iron Bowl victory over Alabama last fall. The night before the game, he was pounding shots while wearing a “Good luck, Coach Saban” shirt.

So, more Barkley is exactly what this program needs.