Sullivan, Barbee Ready for Exhibition Game

Comments from Frankie Sullivan and Tony Barbee are featured previewing AU's exhibition basketball game set for Tuesday night at the Auburn Arena.

Auburn, Ala.--With the official start to basketball season just around the corner, Tony Barbee's Auburn Tigers will have the first of two dress rehearsals as they take on Victory University in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Admission at Auburn Arena is free to the contest vs. an opponent from Memphis that brings a 2-0 record into the game. The Tigers will play Georgia Southwestern on Nov. 5th before opening the regular season four days later vs. IPFW of the Horizon League.

Auburn's most experienced player, fifth-year senior Frankie Sullivan, says he believes fans will enjoy watching the new look Tigers, who feature four scholarship freshmen and two juco transfers.

"The young guys are coming along," the guard says. "They are hitting jump shots and they are athletic. We have some great passers and great defenders in the group and Asauhn (seven-foot center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum) is going to help us out blocking shots in the post. He also did a good job rebounding in the intrasquad game so I think he is coming along well."

Sullivan is coming along well, too, and looks to be full speed this year after being less than 100 percent last season as he continued to rehab a surgically-repaired knee.

"My leg is finally coming up under me again and I feel great," says Sullivan, who led the Tigers in scoring last season at 12.9 points per game. "Hat's off to Jarod Grace (AU's former head basketball trainer). He did a phenomenal job helping me and I appreciate him for that. He still texts me to see how I am doing."

Sullivan notes the newcomers played well in Saturday's intrasquad game. Freshman guard Jordan Price scored 11 points as he hit all four of his field goals to tie senior center Rob Chubb as the leading scorer with 11 points. Three of Price's shots were treys.

Juco transfer Shareif Adamu, a 6-8 forward, pulled in six rebounds, second to Chubb's 10, in a scrimmage that was half the length of a regular game.

Shareif Adamu is shown in Saturday's scrimmage.

"As you can see, we have a lot of talent on this ball club, but it is not going to be offense that wins championships for us, it is going to be defense," Sullivan contends. "We are trying to establish that and the scrimmage was a great start for us."

Sullivan's coach likes to know his players are serious about playing tough defense. Barbee notes he is looking forward to seeing how his third Auburn team looks against outside competition.

Obviously, we want to win, but I don't care about winning or losing in an exhibition game," Barbee says. "It doesn't matter to me.

"I just want to make sure that we keep making progress and keep taking steps forward in practice," he adds. "Some of these younger guys are still a little behind on understanding all of the concepts that you have to have at this level, but there is a different talent level with these guys. They are able to make some plays and at the end of the day you have to make plays on the basketball floor."

The projected starting lineup for the exhibition game features Sullivan and fellow senior Josh Wallace at the guard spots with senior Noel Johnson and junior Allen Payne at the forward spots along with Chubb, a senior, at center.

Shaquille Johnson scored seven points in Saturday's scrimmage.

The freshmen group includes guard/forward Shaquille Johnson, forward Jordon Granger and combo guard Brian  Greene.

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