Big Sophomore Expected to Take Bigger Role

Coach Tony Barbee's tallest Tiger, sophomore center Rob Chubb, will be counted on to be a major contributor this season for the Auburn basketball team.

Auburn, Ala.--After competing against his teammates throughout the offseason and in the full squad preseason practices, sophomore Rob Chubb says he is eager to play against somebody else.

On Wednesday night the 6-10, 235-pound center will have that opportunity as Auburn plays its first exhibition game of the Tony Barbee Era as the Tigers take on the University of West Alabama at 7 p.m. at the new Auburn Arena.

"I am so excited," said Chubb, who is expected to make his first college start in the game. "We have been going at it really hard in practice and it will be good to put the hurting on somebody else for a change."

Chubb played in just seven games last year, but with four of the starters from the 2009-2010 graduated and the other one, guard Frankie Sullivan, out after having knee surgery, the opportunity for extensive playing time is there for the sophomore.

Chubb says he plans to play with intensity and notes that will be a vital component to Auburn's success this year. "Defensive intensity is going to be our key aspect," he says. "We are a smaller team and we don't have as much size and mass as we hoped to have so defensively we are going to have to be like dogs going to the ball. We are going to have to force turnovers and create points from that."

Chubb, who is the team's largest player this season, says, "Our team needs a rebounder, big-time, so I am going to be focused on doing that, but the scoring should come from being in the game and getting open looks."

Asked if seeing minimal playing time last season under former head coach Jeff Lebo was frustrating, Chubb says, "We had some great guys, seniors who were really good and deserved to play. I was happy that I was here, part of the family and along for the ride and able to work at getting better playing against bigger and better players (than high school)."

Chubb, who played at Montverde Academy in Florida as a senior after previously playing at Peachtree City, Ga., High School, says that he believes he is a better player going into Wednesday night's game than he was at this time last year.

"Over the summer I worked every day and I feel like I have made big strides in ball-handling, shooting and post moves," he says. "I am looking forward to putting those to use in our games this year."

Barbee is hoping that the improved Chubb is good enough to be a significant contributor this season. "We are going to need him to provide us a physical presence in the paint," the coach says. "He has got to embrace being more physical.

"He has worked hard on his body in the offseason," Barbee says. "You can see a change in his physicality. Now he has to add that additional bulk and strength to rebound and to be a defender who clogs up the paint on defense. He has also got to give us a scoring option in the post.

"There are several ways you can create easy scoring opportunities and one of them is to throw the ball into the paint and have a post guy who can go get it," Barbee adds. "He has a pretty effective offensive game, but he has to continue to work on it."

The Tigers will play a second exhibition game on Monday vs. Columbus State before opening the regular season on Friday, Nov. 12th with a home game vs. UNC-Asheville.

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