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.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.