New AU Basketball Signee Excited To Be A Tiger

Coach Jeff Lebo has added a third signee to Auburn's latest basketball recruiting class.

Madison, Tenn.--Auburn's first signee of the Jeff Lebo Era says he is excited about his decision to become an Auburn Tiger.

Ryan Daniel, a 6-11, 220-pound center from Goodpasture Christian High, is the third high school senior to sign to play on the 2004-2005 Auburn basketball team.

Daniel, who returned home on Tuesday evening from his official recruiting visit to Auburn, says that he is looking forward to playing for the Tigers.

"My visit was great," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It was really great. I met a lot of great people. I got to meet the assistant coaches and they are great guys. I got to meet the basketball players. Everything about Auburn was friendly. I am really looking forward to being part of that next year."

Daniel plans to get an early start at AU. He will enroll for the second summer academic session in June. He says that he hasn't decided on what he will major in at Auburn.

Daniel is the only player the Tigers are expected to add in the spring period. The Tigers signed a pair of senior guards in the early signing period in November--Toney Douglas of Jonesboro, Ga., High School and Frank Tolbert from Red Level, Ala., High School.

A three-year starter at Goodpasture, Daniel averaged 17 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and blocked 54 shots as a senior. The 220-pounder had a high game of 29 points while earning Class A All-State honors.

Daniel verbally committed to Lebo last fall when the coach was at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. However, he did not sign scholarship papers then so he was able to switch his choice of colleges to AU after Lebo made the move from the Southern Conference school to Auburn this month.

Daniel says that he is looking forward to playing for the new Auburn coach. "It is a chemistry thing we have between a player and a coach," he says. "I can tell that he is a great guy and he really cares for his players. I just had a good feeling that he is the one to be my coach and that he can teach me a lot about basketball."

Goodpasture coach Keith Edwards says that Daniel has been interested in playing for Lebo for a long time and notes that the senior center also had interest in Auburn prior to Lebo replacing Cliff Ellis as head coach.

Edwards says that Daniel, who shot 60 percent from the field as a senior, has an excellent shooting touch. The coach notes that the 220-pounder will need to add weight as a collegian. "I think after a redshirt year, he would be ready to go," the coach says. "Skill-wise, he is ready to play now. He can really do it. He has a European style game. He can put the ball on the floor and he can shoot it."

"We are very happy to have Ryan Daniel join the Auburn family," Lebo says. "Ryan is very skilled, runs the floor and is very athletic. He has a great upside."

Last fall, before verbally committing to UTC and Lebo, Daniel also considered offers from Western Kentucky and UMass. Auburn, Vandy, Tennessee and Ole Miss were among the SEC schools that had recruited him after his junior season.

For his career Daniel scored 1,244 points, which is eighth in school history, and his 741 rebounds is second in school history behind former Kentucky star Ron Mercer.

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