Tony Barbee

2014 small forward Sam Logwood commits to Auburn

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The current era of Auburn basketball hasn’t been particularly pretty, with the lack of success on the court seemingly matched by the number of players who have left the program. During Tony Barbee’s three seasons on the Plains nine players have transferred out, with three others being dismissed from the program. It goes without saying that it’s difficult to rebuild a program when the roster lacks continuity.

With five newcomers and Virginia transfer K.T. Harrell joining the program this season, the hope for Auburn is that they’ll be able to take a step in the right direction in 2013-14. Over the weekend coach Barbee and his staff received a needed boost on the recruiting trail, as 2014 forward Sam Logwood became the program’s first verbal commitment in the class.

The 6-6 small forward currently attends La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., and he’s got the skill needed to get to the basket and finish above the rim. Per 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, Logwood is ranked 116th nationally and 28th at the small forward position. With Auburn having dismissed Shaquille Johnson from the program this offseason, picking up another small forward was likely a priority for the coaching staff.

Auburn has just one returnee (senior Allen Payne) at the position, with junior college transfer Chris Griffin and freshman Dion Wade joining the program this season. Last season Payne averaged 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Tigers, who won just nine games (9-23) and finished last in the SEC (3-15). And with Harrell being the program’s lone shooting guard at present time, Payne, Griffin and Wade could also see time at that spot in 2013-14.

Logwood’s verbal commitment gives Auburn some much-needed depth on the wing, and with both Harrell and Griffin being juniors the Tigers will need more bodies on the wings for the future. Below are a few highlights of Logwood on the grassroots circuit.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.