Auburn, Ala.--Facing an opponent on Tuesday night that features a strong inside presence, Coach Bruce Pearl notes that his team’s tallest player, seven-foot-two freshman Trayvon Reed, has a long way to go to be ready for the physical challenges of SEC basketball.
“Trayvon has not improved as much in games as we would like and as people would expect, but he has improved a lot as far as his preparation, and as far as his habits, training, work in the weight room, his diet, and just his attention to being consistent on a schedule,” Pearl says.
“We are going to have to be patient with Trayvon,” the coach points out. “Trayvon is going to have to be patient. He didn’t come here to average one point and two rebounds. He came here to play a more dominant role.
“He physically isn’t ready for that at 7-2, 225 pounds as a freshman,” Pearl adds. “He didn’t have that same offseason that all of our guys had in the weight room and running stairs. He didn’t have that and it shows.
Reed did not join the Auburn team until December after he finished classwork at a prep school to become academically eligible. Going into Tuesday’s contest vs. Texas A&M he has played in 12 games and is averaging exactly 10 minutes per outing.
The center has shot the ball only 15 times from the field, making six, and is averaging 1.6 points and 2.5 rebounds. He has 11 blocked shots.
Trayvon Reed blocks a shot for the Tigers.
Commenting on Reed, Auburn’s leading scorer, senior guard K.T. Harrell, says, “He’s young, he’s inexperienced, but Trayvon is going to be really good. He has got to get stronger, but I think the most important thing for him is just to go out there and play as hard as he can and just leave it all out there.
“He is going to make mistakes, he’s a freshman,” adds Harrell, who notes that the center needs to concentrate on blocking shots, rebounding and making sure he is in the right place at the right time on both offense and defense.
“As a freshman you can’t think too much,” Harrell says. “If you do that then you’re going to make a lot more mistakes than what you naturally would.”
Reed, Harrell and the rest of the Tigers will take on Texas A&M at 8 p.m. CST on Tuesday night at Auburn Arena. Texas A&M is 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the SEC while Auburn is 10-9 overall and 2-4 in the league.
“I don’t know how much more we will see from Trayvon as the season progresses,” Pearl says. “I hope we see signs, and I hope we see patience from Tray, our fans and our team. He has been a really good teammate and he has a really good personality. I hope that he stays the course. I’m going to. I just hope he does, too.”
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