Nov. 22, 2010
Cedrick McAfee, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard from Memphis, Tenn.; Willy Kouassi, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound center from Birmingham, Ala.; and Bernard Morena, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Birmingham, Ala., have signed national letters of intent to attend Auburn University and play basketball in 2011-12, head coach Tony Barbee
"I am excited about our first full-time signing class for this fall," said Barbee. "I think we addressed some needs that we have as a program and are continuing to build the depth as a part of this team, especially in the guard position with Cedrick McAfee. He is going to add a lot in terms of his versatility and his ability to play multiple positions because of his athleticism at 6-3 and his skill to be able to score the ball and also run a team.
"I am excited about Cedrick and what he is going to bring to the floor but also because I think all three of the guys are going to be great Auburn men. They really represent what Auburn stands for ... great people, great character and really good students who are fantastic basketball players and more importantly, they all come from winning programs under great coaches as (Melrose) Coach (Jermaine) Johnson and (Central Park Christian) Coach (Donovan) Broadnax. So they understand what winning is about, and I have always said winning breeds winning, and that's what we like to recruit."
McAfee, ranked 74th nationally by Rivals.com and the 19th top guard in the country, plays for Melrose High School, which is the No. 1 ranked team in America. McAfee had 18 points in the Golden Wildcats' season-opening 66-34 victory over Fairley. He averaged 24 points per game at Craigmont High last year before transferring to Melrose in the middle of the season.
McAfee chose Auburn over Memphis, Baylor, South Carolina, Missouri, Miami, Arkansas and Florida International. This past summer, he attended the LeBron James camp in Akron, Ohio, the NBA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va., and the Paul Pierce Skills Academy in Chicago.
A native of the Ivory Coast, Kouassi is ranked 87th nationally by Rivals.com and the 11th best center in the country. Kouassi averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds for loaded Birmingham Central Park Christian. He chose Auburn over Florida, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Alabama, UAB, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Tulsa.
"Willy and Bernard are going to be fantastic players for us," said Barbee. "They are fantastic kids and fantastic students, but they both bring a different dimension. Willy brings us a bigger presence along the frontline who can rebound and really block shots. He is very athletic for his size at 6-10 and has a high motor and high energy level. He has to get better on the offensive end of the floor, but he can score down there given the opportunity."
Morena, a native of the Ivory Coast and a teammate of Kouassi at Birmingham Central Park Christian, averaged 10 points per game last year. He chose Auburn over UAB, Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Now in their second year at Central Park Christian, Kouassi and Morena led the school to the National Association of Christian Athletes national title last season.
"I am excited about Bernard because he gives us a 6-8 versatile inside-out player who can play on the wing," said Barbee. "He can play from the post. He can shoot it. He can score around the basket. He has long arms, and he is very athletic so he will be a very good defender on the perimeter with his length. We are excited about this first full-time class and look forward to possibly signing a couple more late."
Kouassi is interested in studying agricultural economics and Morena is planning to major in engineering.