"It was a great camp and I really, really liked it," Marena says of his trip to the one-day event on Auburn's campus. "We did a lot of drills and the coaches gave us a lot of advice to try to make our games better."
Marena, who has been in the United States for less than two years, is originally from the Ivory Coast. He says he is enjoying the experience playing hoops and taking classes in the U.S.
"The first winter was really tough because I was used to warm and humid winter weather in Africa,"?he says. "The first winter here there was snow and it got down to 10 degrees."
Marena will be one of the top senior prospects in the state of Alabama for the 2011 signee class even though he is still relatively new to the game.
"I have been playing basketball for five years now," he points out. "Back in Africa it is all about soccer and I played it, too. I was a forward in soccer, but the first time I played basketball I decided that was all I wanted to do."
An honor student with a 4.0 grade point average in high school, he is interested in studying computer engineering in college.
Auburn is known for its strong engineering programs and another thing the Tigers have going for them in recruiting Marena is that he likes Barbee and his team's style of play. "I knew Coach Barbee back when he was at UTEP," Marena says. "I saw him coach and I like the way his teams play defense and I like that they play fast--run and gun. I like running."
The rising senior is trying to push ahead in the development of his skills this summer. "Right now I am working on my jump shot because as a 6-7 perimeter guard I want to be better in that area and I also want to work on my ball handling. "My dad and my mom are into computer engineering and I am interested in that, too," Marena says.
Another plus for Auburn is its beautiful new arena that is scheduled to open this summer. Marena and the others campers were able to use the complex's practice facility at the Auburn camp and toured the still unfinished arena. "It is going to be off the chain," he says. "I don't think I?have seen anything like it."
Prior to his senior season at Central Park, Marena will be busy playing AAU basketball for Team Alabama. For his senior season, Marena will team with Willy Kouassi, another prospect from the Ivory Coast, to give Central Park a strong