Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Auburn Tigers hosting Austin Nichols

2013 five-star power forward Austin Nichols has seen his recruitment heat up even more with each official visit, and his rescheduled trip to Auburn this weekend is the latest even in what has been an extremely intriguing recruitment thus far. Nichols has taken official visits to Tennessee and Memphis this month, with both of those two in-state schools (Nichols is from Memphis) being viewed as the most likely landing spots for the talented big.

Duke, Vanderbilt, and Virginia are three schools he is still looking at, as Virginia contacted Nichols on the first day of the month. Five days later, the Briarcrest Christian standout took his official trip to Durham, North Carolina to check out Duke’s campus. His official visit to Virginia came last month.

The Auburn Tigers are looking to land their second pledge in the 2013 class after getting a commitment from Tahj Shamsid-Deen last month, but it is going to be a difficult battle in order to land Austin Nichols. A source told site editor Evan Williams that, “Tennessee is still the heavy favorite here.”

One of the top 25 recruits in the class, the 6’9″, 205 pound PF has terrific fundamentals and is an excellent defensive player with his work rate and blocking ability. Nichols isn’t the strongest guy out there, but he runs the floor well and has a nice touch around the rim. Technique can overcompensate for a lack of strength on the inside, and Nichols probably has the best fundamentals of any power forward in this class.

The seventh-ranked prospect by 247Sports, the Auburn target is second to only five-star SG and Tennessee commit Robert Hubbs in the Tennessee state rankings. Memphis has commits from the third and sixth best recruits on the board per the 247Composite.

Tennessee is expected to land Nichols per the source close to Williams, and Memphis is also right in the mix. But don’t count out Auburn if the visit goes well. As for Duke, it looks like they have faded out of the picture after once being one of the favorites to land him. At this point, it looks like the Vols are in prime position to land Nichols, but the Auburn visit is one to watch closely.

Tags: Auburn Tigers Austin Nichols Basketball Memphis Tigers Tennessee Volunteers

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