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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Auburn’s woes worsen with Shaquille Johnson’s abrupt dismissal

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Shaquille Johnson (Getty Images)

Neither of the crown jewels of Auburn's 2012 recruiting class will play a second season in a Tigers jersey.

In April, shooting guard Jordan Price announced he was transferring because he no longer felt the Auburn program was the proper fit for him. Then Thursday, coach Tony Barbee dismissed wing Shaq Johnson from the program the day after Auburn police reportedly arrested him and charged him with second degree possession of marijuana following a traffic stop.

"We hold our student-athletes to a high standard at Auburn University in the way that they conduct themselves off the court,” coach Tony Barbee said in a news release. “I am very disappointed in Shaq’s choices and actions, and they won’t be tolerated. This decision is not one that I take lightly, but it is in the best interest of both the program and the student-athlete."

It's tough to say how big a loss Johnson is for Auburn because he failed to live up to lofty expectations during a nondescript freshman season.

On the one hand, he started 21 games last season yet only averaged a modest 5.3 points and 3.0 boards per game. On the other hand, he would have likely started again as a sophomore and his high-flying, slashing athleticism suggested he had the potential for a breakout season.

That Barbee got nothing from Johnson or Price is a terrible sign for his longterm future at Auburn. Recruiting has improved for the Tigers under Barbee, but he’s 35-59 overall, 12-38 in the SEC and coming off of a disastrous 9-23 season, not exactly the credentials that suggest job security.

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