Best Yet to Come From Sullivan, Barbee Says

Coach Tony Barbee is expecting more from his top scorer on last year's Auburn basketball team.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Barbee said he expects fans will see the old Frankie Sullivan when Barbee opens his third season as Auburn's head basketball coach later this year.

Trying to bounce back from a serious knee injury suffered during his 2010-2011 season, Sullivan did not have his normal quickness during the 2011-2012 campaign. Despite being less than full speed the six-foot-one guard managed to lead the Tigers in scoring at 12.6 points per game and minutes played with 978 (31.8 per game).

With the new NCAA rule in place allowing coaches to spend eight hours a week in the summer working out their teams, Barbee has been pleased with what he has seen from the senior guard.

"It is funny what happens when you have a knee injury like Frankie did, as devastating as it was," Barbee said. "What you saw out of Frankie last year was 70 to 75 percent of capacity. It is usually that second year back you get closer to that 100 percent range and that is what we have seen out of Frankie this summer.

"He is getting his speed, quickness and explosion back in his leg that he didn't have las year when he couldn't do most of the things he does well on the floor," Barbee said.

Sullivan was injured early in what was scheduled to be his junior season. After playing in six games he received a medical hardship redshirt. The former R.C. Hatch High star from Uniontown will be a fifth-year senior for the 2012-2013 season.

Sullivan is shown in action last season.

As a sophomore Sullivan shot 43.1 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from three-point range and 85.1 percent at the foul line. Last season those numbers were down to 38.3 percent from the field, 31.7 on threes and 70.1 percent at the foul line because he didn't have the quickness and lateral mobility to shake defenders as easily as he had in the past.

Barbee is counting on Sullivan's shooting numbers to rise this season. "He has always been a great shooter, but he is capable of doing so much more," the coach said. "He just didn't have the ability to do that last year because he was limited coming back off the knee injury. He is close to 100 percent and has looked really good in the summer workouts."


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