This summer seems to have been chock full of players getting in trouble with the law and their team. You can add another notch to that list as Shaquille Johnson, a freshman guard last year, has been kicked off the Auburn Tigers roster.
CBS’ Gary Parrish and College Basketball Talk both reported that an arrest for possession of marijuana was the reason for Johnson’s dismissal. Auburn’s basketball program, much to Charles Barkley’s dismay, has been in disarray for a good while. Odds are very likely that the school knew that keeping Johnson after his arrest would have been looked upon negatively for a school that has had a bit too much bad press recently.
“We hold our student-athletes to a high standard at Auburn University in the way that they conduct themselves off the court,” head 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.”
As for Johnson, he is one of the most athletic players in the NCAA and has a crazy vertical leap. While it is likely he will have to sit out this year no matter what, due to transfer rules, I can easily see a team looking for some energy of their bench picking him up.
In his freshman year, Johnson started 21 games and averaged 5.3 points and 3 rebounds. Given some time to develop and some extra attention from a coach, he would have a chance at becoming an athletic phenomenon who is also a dangerous basketball player. Prior to his arrest, there had been no reports of Johnson being a difficult player to coach or acting out as a teammate.
Hopefully Johnson learns his lesson, takes some time to rethink his choices and finds a roster to play for as soon as possible. One thing is for certain, he has to be looking at the PJ Hairston situation and thinking that if he was at UNC and of Hairston’s name level recognition, he might still be on his team’s roster right now.