Sullivan's Keys to Success for 2012-13 Tigers

Senior Frankie Sullivan and his Auburn basketball Tigers open the regular season at home on Friday.

Auburn, Ala.--Fifth-year senior Frankie Sullivan isn't willing to say this is the best Auburn basketball team he has played on during his time with the Tigers, but the team's top returning scorer says the Tigers have a chance to get there.

On Friday night Sullivan and the Tigers open the regular season with a home game vs. IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne). Tipoff is set for 7 o'clock at the Auburn Arena.

The Tigers won both of their exhibition games. The first was a blowout win over Victory University and the second game was a less impressive win over Georgia Southwestern State on Monday night when the Tigers never seemed to get into a good flow offensively.

"I think the team played pretty well in the exhibition games," Sullivan tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Any time your defense is better than your offense, like ours is right now, you have got a good chance of winning because it is all about defense in this game.

"Our offense can be good, but we need to improve our execution," he points out. "That is something we can improve by watching a lot of film."

The Tigers are likely to open the season with a veteran starting lineup featuring as many as four seniors with Sullivan, point guard Josh Wallace and center Rob Chubb being likely starters and guard/forward Noel Johnson another senior who could be in the lineup.

Based on the preseason practices, the intrasquad game and the two exhibition games, the team's six newcomers should play a significant role for the 2012-2013 Tigers. The group includes freshmen guard/forward Shaquille Johnson, guard Jordan Price, guard Brian  Greene, Jr. and forward Jordon Granger plus juco transfers Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, a center, and forward Shareif Adamu.

"We are going to get a lot of help from these guys as you can see from our exhibition games," Sullivan says. "They are athletic. The important thing for them offensively is being in the right spots, knowing the plays and properly executing them.

"Defensively, they are going to go hard," predicts Sullivan, who notes that he has continued to make progress physically from a knee injury that slowed him the past two seasons. "We are going to get help from them on defense as they learn to be in the right spot at the right time. They are going to help us with shot-blocking and rebounding."

Sullivan averaged a team-best 12.9 points per game as a junior.

The Tigers finished last season a disappointing 15-16 after having much higher expectations prior to a season that was plagued by injuries. What does Sullivan see as the most important key to a successful final year with the Tigers?

"Everybody doing their part," he says. "Everybody taking the initiative to handle the role that Coach (Tony Barbee) gives them and learn how they should play to make the team successful."

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