Any time that a college basketball head coach is quoted as saying that a player’s departure “is in the best interest of both the program and the student-athlete”, you know things have gone terribly wrong.
Auburn would-be-sophomore guard Shaq Johnson has been kicked off the basketball team for a violation of team rules, and the aforementioned quote, made by Auburn head coach Tony Barbee says it all. The move comes in tandem with a Thursday morning arrest of Johnson, who was charged with marijuana possession in Lee County, Alabama.
This is, unfortunately, yet another disaster for a massively struggling Auburn hoops program. Johnson was one of the team’s key contributors as a freshman last year, averaging 5.2 points and 1.3 assists per game, but his dismissal is indicative of a larger picture. Coach Barbee has had to clean house in a major way over his 3-year tenure, and the hits continue to come to a program who went just 9-23 even in a “down” SEC last season.
It is unclear what Johnson’s future with the team and, more importantly, the university is going forward. It’s crystal clear that he won’t be on the basketball team for the foreseeable future, however, and it is certainly in play that he could transfer in order to use his considerable basketball talent elsewhere. Basketball will never be king at Auburn, but at this rate, it won’t be a “prince” either.