#111 Auburn Tigers: College Basketball 111 in 111


Auburn Cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Earning the dubious honor of finishing dead last in my rankings are the Auburn Tigers.  In his fourth season as head coach, Tony Barbee simply hasn’t found a recipe to work as players have either transferred, been dismissed, or not panned out as expected.  There is plenty of turnover on the roster again as only four players who saw significant minutes return from a year ago.

Last season: 14th, 3-15 in SEC, 9-23 overall
Projected SEC Finish: 14th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Asauhn Dixon-Tatum (Sr)/Ronald Delph (Fr)/Matthew Atewe (Fr)
F: Allen Payne (Sr)/Jordan Granger (So)/Benas Griciunas (Fr)
G/F: KT Harrell (Jr)/Chris Griffin (Jr)
SG: Chris Denson (Sr)/Dion Wade (Fr)
PG: Malcolm Canada (Jr)/Tahj Shamsid-Deen (Fr)

Gone: PG-Frankie Sullivan, C-Rob Chubb, PG-Josh Wallace, G/F-Noel Johnson, SG-Jordan Price (transfer-La Salle), SG-Brian Greene (transfer), F-Sharief Adamu (dismissed)

2013-2014 Outlook:
If I am an opposing coach looking at the Auburn Tigers roster, nothing really scares me.  Chris Denson is the team’s top returning scorer even though he doesn’t shoot the ball really well from deep and lacks the ideal size for a shooting guard.  Usually playing off the ball, Denson might see more time at the point since junior college transfer Malcolm Canada and freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen are the only other floor generals on the roster.  It will be interesting to see who Barbee gives the keys to as Canada or Shamsid-Deen should end up starting at the point which would allow Denson to spend more time at the two.

Virginia transfer KT Harrell becomes eligible after sitting out last season and will be relied upon heavily on the wing.  If Canada or Shamsid-Deen win the starting point guard spot, expect the Tigers to use a three-guard look with Harrell shifting to more of a small forward position.  Shaquille Johnson was expected to see more court time this year but was dismissed from the team stemming from his arrest due to marijuana possessions.  His exit should open the door for JUCO transfer Chris Griffin to be an immediate contributor off the bench.  Griffin originally committed to Rutgers but changed his mind after Mike Rice was fired.  Freshman Dion Wade adds more depth on the wing.

Undersized power forward Allen Payne returns to anchor an inexperienced frontcourt.  Seven-footer Asauhn Tatum-Dixon will likely replace Rob Chubb as starting center.  Though he brings more size in the middle, there isn’t a whole lot offensive ability in his game.  Seldom used sophomore Jordan Granger will compete for playing time off the bench along with the freshmen trio of Ronald Delph, Matthew Atawe, and Brenas Griciunas.

Once again, there are plenty of questions surrounding this Auburn Tigers team.  Can the newcomers provide a spark and mesh with the returning players?  Who will take control of the point guard position?  Will the team have any sort of post scoring?  Can a team that finished 293rd among D-1 programs last year shoot the ball better from three?  With so many questions, it is pretty evident as to why they are ranked dead last in my 111 in 111.

Player to Watch: KT Harrell
After making an immediate impact his freshman season at Virginia, Harrell saw his playing time and production diminish his sophomore year with the Cavs which ultimately led to his decision to transfer midway through the season.  He is a physical off guard who will bring needed leadership and perhaps more importantly, scoring punch to the line-up.

Key Non-Conference Games:
12/2 at Iowa State (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
vs. Boston College
vs. Illinois (in Atlanta)
vs. Clemson

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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