Bluechip Hoops Recruit High on AU After Visit

Austin Nichols from Memphis talks about his weekend visiting the Auburn basketball Tigers.

Memphis, Tenn.---Four-star basketball prospect Austin Nichols took his fifth and final official visit to Auburn over the weekend and said he really enjoyed the trip as he closes in on making a decision on where he will sign.

The forward has the Tigers on a list of six finalists that include Tennessee, Duke, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Memphis. He took official visits to each of those colleges with the exception of hometown Memphis.

Commenting on his visit to Auburn, Nichols said, "It was pretty crazy. It was my first time there and I didn't know what to expect. I went out with the guys last night and it was pretty fun. I went to the football game and I had a blast."

Nichols said he spent a lot of time talking about Auburn with freshman Shaquille Johnson, a four-star recruit himself, who is a freshman on this season's Auburn team.

Rated the No. 15 power forward prospect in the country by, Nichols said he wants to have his decision finalized in the next week and half so he can concentrate on his senior season at Briarcrest Christian.

"I will probably just talk with my family and whatever I feel is right and decide on it and go from there," he said, noting that he is not ready to say he has a leader, but did point out he is ready to wrap up the recruiting process. He said has been enjoyable, but tiring.

Noting that Auburn has "a great chance" to be his choice and commenting on why he is seriously considering Coach Tony Barbee's Tigers, Nichols said, "I want to be a face of the program, a kind of program-changer and with the coaches there I think they can get me where I want to be."

Nichols, who is 6-9, 215 pounds, watched the Tigers go through an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and said he "loves" the team's style of play with an aggressive defense and an up-tempo offense.

"They are going to lose Rob Chubb (Auburn senior) and I think I can come in and get some good minutes and produce pretty well," he said.

The prospect noted he liked the Auburn fans and how they love sports and the campus. "They are great people," he stated.

"They are building something every year," he said of campus, adding that he really likes the basketball facilities, which he called "awesome." He made the visit with his parents and noted they liked the trip, too. "They were extremely impressed," he said. "Everything is so nice."

Austin Nichols (left) is shown in action.

Asked what the strength of his game is going into his senior season, Nichols said, "I am just a long player. I can block shots. I?run the floor pretty well. I am an offensive rebounder. I just like to play the game."

Commenting on the other colleges he is considering, he said Tennessee is where his twin sister is currently enrolled and she likes it and would like to have her brother join him in Knoxville.

He said that Vanderbilt offers "great academics" and so does Duke, adding that "Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) is a great guy," he said of Duke's head coach.

He said he also likes the academics at Virginia and Coach Tony Bennett. "The coach is really a good, Christian man.

Commenting on the Memphis Tigers, he said, "Hometown, Coach (Josh) Pastner is a great guy. I just have a big decision to make, that is for sure."

Nichols noted that he likes Ryan Miller, the assistant coach who is recruiting him for Auburn. Commenting on AU, "Auburn is great--coaches and everything," Nichols said. "I think the coaches will turn me into a man, not just a good basketball player."

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