A Fresh Start For Auburn Junior Forward

Jordon Granger talks about preparations for the 2014-15 Auburn basketball season that begins with a home exhibition game on Friday night.

Auburn, Ala.--When the Auburn basketball team takes the court on Friday night for its exhibition game vs. West Alabama the Tigers will be counting on improved play from Jordon Granger.

The six-foot-eight, 210-pound junior from St. Louis has an excellent chance to see a major expansion of his playing time this season in a new role with a new coaching staff.

“I’m really excited,” Granger tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “I have a new position, it’s a new year so I’m ready to go to work.”

With Tigers short on inside players Granger is moving from the three (small forward) to the four spot (power forward) where he will be called on to play a major role for Coach Bruce Pearl’s first Auburn team.

“I feel like with my skill set I’m able to play on the wing, but Coach needs me at the four and I’m ready to rebound and play good defense,” Granger said. “I played four and five (center) in high school.”

After averaging just 6.1 minutes of playing time as a freshman and 10 minutes per game last year, Granger is pushing for a starting assignment and can’t wait to show he is up to the task.

“It really is a great opportunity,” the junior said. “Coach Pearl has put me in a great position to be successful so I’m going to take that as far as I can.”

Pearl noted that he has seen good things from Granger in the preseason workouts that started early in the summer. The head coach has had plenty of chances to observe Granger during intrasquad scrimmages and practice

“He did a couple of stat sheets, stuff was on the board and I was top three of most of them,” Granger points out. “I feel like I’m ready to go out on the court and show him what I can do.

“This preseason I’m working on rebounding,” Granger says. “I want to be a monster on the boards this year for my team since we’re kind of small against a lot of teams in the SEC, but we’re going to play quick, fast and hard so that is what I’m trying to work on.”

To play power forward Granger is also working on getting bigger and stronger. “I have packed on eight or nine pounds since we have been back from break in the summertime,” he says.

Jordon Granger started three games as a freshman and one last season.

The junior has also been working on becoming a better scorer after averaging just 1.2 points per game as a freshman and 1.3 last season

“Coach Harris Adler has put in countless hours with me in gym to work on my form and technique around the three-point range so I’m going to be shooting a lot of threes this year.

“I love the coaches,” he adds. “They come with so much energy and hype to the team that it gives us energy and makes us ready to work every day."

Adler notes that Granger is putting in the time and effort to improve. "Jordon has worked hard on his shot and improving his form, and becoming a better rebounder," the coach says, noting the Tigers really need the junior to step up and contribute as a power forward.

Granger has also been working on his conditioning so he can play more minutes at a faster pace. “This year’s team should be gritty, fast running, fast breaking," he says. "We’re going to do a lot of pressing this year so teams are really going to have to handle our pressure up and down the court for 40 minutes--the whole game.”

Granger has set a very high goal for himself. “I am going to try to average a double-double, something like 10 points and 10 rebounds a game,” he says, noting that he is going to do his best to take advantage of his opportunities with opponents likely to be focused on stopping Auburn’s guards.

Auburn's new look team will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. at Auburn Arena vs. West Alabama and open the regular season a week later in the same place vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The exhibition game is a sellout except for standing room tickets.

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