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July 18, 2013
AUBURN | Shaquille Johnson, the presumptive starter at small forward for the Tigers, has been dismissed from the team following his arrest for possession of marijuana.
He's being held at the Lee County Detention Center on $500 bond.
"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. "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."
Johnson was Auburn's top freshman during the 2012-13 season, averaging 5.3 points and three rebounds per game. He started 21 of the team's 32 games due primarily to strong defensive work.
Though he connected on just 26.8 percent of his three-point shots last season, he'd been working on his jump shot and was expected to a stronger force from the perimeter this season.
Johnson's dismissal will force some significant changes to the team's lineup. Freshman Dion Wade had been working as Johnson's backup during recent practices, so he may get a longer look at small forward. Allen Payne, who played power forward last season, is better suited for small forward and may be able to play there.
Freshman Matthew Atewe (pronounced 'AT-uh-way') appears more refined than expected at power forward and may be able to handle the position by November.