Steve Leven, a 6-5, 195-pound guard, and Terry Licorish, a 6-9, 235-pound power forward, both told Inside the Auburn Tigers they will sign with Auburn in the early signing period in November. That will likely wrap up the AU recruiting effort until next spring when the Tigers will have one scholarship available.
What position the Tigers recruit for the spring period will depend on how the 2001-2002 season develops, particularly with the point guard situation. Leven picked the Tigers over Texas, Georgia and others. Licorish selected Auburn over Louisville, Virginia Tech and others.
Leven, who is from Sydney, Australia, played on a state championship team in Maryland, last season. That Newport School team was coached by Chris Chaney, who also coached former Auburn player Jamison Brewer at Newport. When Chaney accepted a job as coach at Laurinburg, Leven followed him south to North Carolina.
"Steve is a real good shooter," Chaney says. "He is very athletic. A lot of people compare him to Rex Chapman. He is a very hard-working kid who is just getting better and better each year. He is a very strong kid. He plays inside and outside. He is definitely going to be a two (shooting guard). His junior year in high school, he actually played inside. He is a very physical kid who doesn't shy away from contact."
Leven came to the United States as an exchange student at St. John's High in Washington, D.C., before he transferred to the private school after having what he calls a less than good relationship with the coach. At Newport, he averaged 17 points and seven rebounds per game and helped the team to a 30-5 record.
Leven, who just turned 18, is still in high school and could play for the high school team, but says the competition is better at the prep school level and that is the team he will play on this season. (Laurinburg has both high school and prep school squads.) "Terry and I both had a great time on our visits to Auburn this weekend," he says. "I am looking forward to being an Auburn Tiger. The spirit of the Auburn fans is incredible. We were sitting in section 11, which wasn't even the student section, and the fans were going crazy. It was so much fun. It gets you excited about wanting to play at a college where the fans are so great."
Leven, who had Marquis Daniels as his player host, says he expects to play shooting guard at Auburn and adds, "I might even get a chance to play some at the one (point guard) spot."
Leven says he is excited about playing in college with Licorish. They live next door to each other in a dorm and have become friends. "We have a great chemistry on the floor together," Leven says.
Licorish agrees and says that his Auburn weekend was great, too. "Marco Killingsworth showed me around and I am looking forward to playing on the team with him next year if he isn't in the NBA. That guy is really good. There are a lot of good players at Auburn. It looks like we could have the type of team that could win it all." The power forward watched the Midnight Mayhem basketball practice and saw the Tigers in a brief scrimmage.
Licorish averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game for a deep and talented Mt. Zion high school team in North Carolina, which featured outstanding players from around the country. He originally committed to Louisville last year, but did not qualify academically and decided to go to prep school. He is working on gaining his eligibility and just needs a higher SAT score to be ready to play college basketball. His coach says that should not be a problem and that Leven has his test score and is on track to be a full qualifier as soon as he finishes his high school classes.
"Terry is an inside and outside player who can hit the three," says Chaney. "He is very physical on the block. He is a power forward. We played against his team last year and he played a very good game. Both should be players who are good enough to come in and start right away at Auburn."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Laurinburg coach Chaney says, "Auburn did a great job of coming in and recruiting both of them. It was Coach (Mike) Wilson and Coach (Cliff) Ellis. Auburn is getting two real good ones...Licorish (pronounced like the candy) was born in Montreal but moved to Toronto, where he was a standout player before heading to the U.S. to look for better competition...Licorish is considered a strong leaper, but says he doesn't know what his vertical jump is. Leven has measured his and it is a very impressive 39 inches...Their team, which is starting practice this week, will play against college junior varsity squads and other prep schools such as Hargrave and Fork Union.
Copyright 2001, Inside the Auburn Tigers Magazine