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Around the Plains 4/13

Great to hear the news, big guy.

A quick look at various stories happening RIGHT NOW in Auburn athletics:

Shon Coleman is cancer-free. Or so says his mother’s Facebook page:

“Shon had a bone marrow aspiration today and 0% cancer cells were detected in his marrow. When he entered the hospital 15 days ago he was at 60%. Blood is clear and marrow is clear. We’re in remission on Day 15. Excellent news. God is so GOOD!!!!”

“Excellent” doesn’t begin to describe it. Obviously a beyond-welcome piece of information and here’s to hoping Coleman remains in remission and we see him in class this fall.

Barbee hires assistants. Meet the new boss, old UTEP assistant coaches, same as the new boss:

Look for Tony Barbee’s entire coaching staff from Texas-El Paso to join him on his new staff at Auburn.

Assistant coaches Milt Wagner, Tony Madlock and Randall Dickey are expected to join Barbee’s staff, according to people familiar with the hiring process.

That Barbee will be surrounded by coaches he knows and trusts can only help the transition from school to school, and having the entire staff squared away this soon should be a big positive as Barbee attempts to salvage the swiftly-dwindling recruiting class. All of them have excellent resumes for assistants–Wagner was a member of the 1986 Louisville national title team, which is pretty cool–and should do an excellent job on the Plains.

But–you knew there was a but–Wagner and new director of basketball operations Mike Babul were also part of the Calipari crew at Memphis. It probably won’t mean anything bad. Derrick Rose didn’t even arrive on campus until Barbee, Wagner, and Babul were long gone. But it has to be made note of.

Gymnastics. It was a good season for Auburn gymnastics–the program’s first-ever win over Georgia, national rankings, their first single-event representative at nationals since 2006 in the person of junior Rachel Inniss.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Auburn’s season-concluding team performance at Regionals was a disappointment, as the Tigers placed sixth out of six. Coach Jeff Thompson:

“We got off to a really good start on vault … Then we went to bars and two of our bars specialists just forgot their routines. From there we went to beam and one of our girls fell on a leap, which is something that is silly to have happen.”

Yeah, I think he’s annoyed. The Tigers will be back next year, though.

Golf. Former Tiger Jason Dufner’s 30th-place finish at the Masters was pretty sweet, but the big Auburn story on the links should play out this weekend as the No. 3 women’s golf team looks for its second straight SEC title at Tuscaloosa’s North River Yacht Club.

Auburn’s led by junior Cydney Clanton, who’s only the top-ranked player in all of women’s college golf. She and Candace Schepperle both missed the recent Bryan National Collegiate (where Auburn finished 12th anyway) but for a good reason: they were busy playing the LPGA’s Nabisco Championship, which since I’d heard of it even before I started this post is probably a big deal.

The point: they’re good. They’re favored to win an SEC title. And we’re rooting for them.

Baseball. Two fun pieces of news to report: Auburn’s ranked for the first time since 2007, sneaking into the Baseball America poll at No. 23. (Am I going to petty enough to mention that the Tide simultaneously fell out of the poll after their series loss to Kentucky? Apparently, I am.)

Also: Justin Fradejas is your SEC Player of the Week. ‘Cause he’s awesome like that.

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