Juco Point Guard Signs With Tigers

Fairburn, Ga.--Former Creekside High guard Mike Woodard, who played junior college ball in California last season, has signed to play basketball for Auburn and will enroll for summer classes in June.

Woodard, a 5-11, 175-pounder, earned all conference honors as a sophomore after transferring to Los Angeles Southwest Junior College after spending his freshman season at Youngstown State.

"I knew the coach was going to be fired so I decided to leave there," he said of his Youngstown State experience. "We were 8-20 my freshman year and he was fired right after I left."

Woodard says the fact that Auburn needs a point guard and that the university is close to home led him to select the Tigers over a variety of colleges.

"Auburn is a prestigious school that I have always been interested in," he says. "Plus, it is a little more than an hour away from home so that is a big plus."

Woodard, who played his high school basketball at Creekside High, averaged 16.2 points, 6.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game as a sophomore at LA Southwest. He shot 58.6 percent from the field and hit 33-65 three-pointers. He made 74 percdent of his free throws.

"I like to play fast and consider myself a team player," he says. "I like to really get up and down the court."

He says he picked Auburn over a large number of colleges who offered him in the early and late signing periods. "I got offers from Maryland, Illinois, Purdue, Oklahoma, Mississippi State,Boston College, Gonzaga, Ole Miss, Washington State and others," he says.

"Auburn looks to be the best place for me," he adds. "I plan to enroll there on June 26."

He earned All-State honors as a senior at Creekside High where he averaged 15 points and nine assists as a senior. He was a second team All-State pick as a junior.

With Toney Dougas, a sophomore-to-be guard, testing the waters with the NBA, adding another guard gives the Tigers insurance at the position in case he decides not to return.

Woodard says he believes his strengths are his quickness and shooting ability, along with his mindset on the basketball court. "I am a good three-point shooter and like to play point guard and I really like to win," he says. "The winning part of it is imporant to me."

Woodard will enter Auburn with two seasons of eligibility starting with the 2005-2006 season.

Woodard earned first-team All-South Coast Conference and the All-State juco all-star team in California. "I am very excited about Michael's decision to join our basketball program," Lebo says Auburn coach Jeff Lebo. "I've known him since he came to my camps at Tennessee Tech. He played for a very good Creekside team out of Atlanta. He has really improved his game from high school to junior college. Obviously, he is a guy who plays the point guard position, and hopefully he'll keep me out of practice."

Because of a shortage of players in his first year at Auburn, Lebo practiced with his team part of the season.

"He has quickness," Lebo adds. "He shoots the ball at a high percentage. His junior college team was a team with a lot of pretty good perimeter players. He can do a little bit of everything. He is athletic, he passes and he shoots it enough to keep you honest. He can get by you. He does a little bit of everything at the point guard position."

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