Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, a 7-foot, 230-pound center from Anderson, Ind.; Jordon Granger, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward from Florissant, Mo.; Shaquille Johnson, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Alpharetta, Ga.; and Jordan Price, a 6-foot-5, 218-pound guard from Decatur, Ga.; have signed national letters of intent to attend Auburn University and play basketball in 2012-13, head coach Tony Barbee announced Friday.
"I am excited about the class," said Barbee. "I always talk about when you take over a program, the first two signing classes are the most important to lay the foundation of the type of players you recruit to fit your style and philosophy and all those things. Last year's class was really, really good, and this year's class is even better.
"I am excited that we got a combination of size and speed and skill, but most importantly, all four of them are great character kids that are going to be great members of the Auburn Family and represent this University in a positive light on and off the floor. We are fortunate to get all four early and are excited to have all four of them to go along with last year's recruiting class. They are going to be the foundation in the change of this program."
Dixon-Tatum is attending Chattahoochee Tech in Marietta, Ga., this year after averaging 4.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and a conference-leading 2.2 blocks per game as a redshirt freshman at Div. II Grand Valley State in Michigan last year. His 59 blocks were the fourth highest in school history, and he shot 57.1 percent from the field. He had a season-high seven blocks in only 18 minutes vs. Lake Superior State, and scored in double-figures three times, including a season-best 11 points at Northern Michigan.
Dixon-Tatum, who chose Auburn over Memphis, Ole Miss, UAB and Evansville, is averaging 11 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks per game as Chattahoochee Tech is 2-1 on the season.
"Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, a junior college center, is unique in that he is not your typical junior college player," said Barbee. "He is a late bloomer who graduated high school at 6-foot-9, 190 pounds. Now after going to a Div. II school for two years, he is 7-foot, 230 pounds with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a 36 inch vertical jump. He is extremely athletic for someone who is 7-foot. He has a unique ability to block shots and rebound the ball because of how high he plays above the rim, and he is a developing offensive talent."
Granger led McClure North High School to the Missouri Class 5 State Championship last year while averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks as the Stars had a 29-5 record under coach Randy Reed. In one week last season, he had a pair of triple-doubles in three wins with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 14 blocks vs. Normandy and 21 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks vs. Roosevelt and 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks vs. Jackson.
Granger chose Auburn over Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Saint Louis U. and Detroit.
"Jordan Granger, out of St. Louis, is a 6-foot-9, 215-pound power forward who is the kind of power forward that I like that is not just locked to the block," said Barbee. "He is a guy who can play in the post and rebound the ball but can also stretch the floor with his ability to handle it and his ability to shoot the three. He is a fantastic addition to the program."
Johnson, who is ranked 92nd in the nation by ESPN.com, averaged 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior at Milton High School last year for coach David Boyd. The team had eight seniors last season, including four that signed Div. I scholarships. Johnson won the Under Armour Dunk Contest at Venice Beach, Calif., this past August that was televised by ESPN. The dunk contest featured Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. Johnson won the event with a windmill dunk, a high-flying dunk that cleared a 6-foot-9 player and a circus dunk by going through his legs and jamming left-handed.
Johnson selected Auburn over Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Miami (Fla.).
"Shaq Johnson is a ridiculous athlete who is still growing in his understanding of the game but has a chance to be a fantastic player because he has really worked on his game to not only be a good athlete, but to be able to shoot the ball out on the perimeter," said Barbee. "He plays for a fantastic coach at Milton High. I am excited about Shaq."
Price, who is ranked 71st nationally by Rivals.com, averaged 19 points, 6.5 assists and nearly four assists per game as a junior at Southwest DeKalb High School under coach Dwayne McKinney last season. As a sophomore, he played at Chattanooga McCallie where he was named Tennessee's Mr. Basketball. He attended the NBA Camp in Virginia for college prospects this past summer and was one of the outstanding scorers.
"Jordan Price is a talented combo guard at his size at 6-foot-5, 218 pounds," said Barbee. "He can play the one. He can play the two. He can really score. He can run a team. He has a lot of talent."
Price chose Auburn over Memphis, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Michigan and Miami (Fla.).