Auburn Players Feel Sense of Relief

Current members of the Auburn basketball team discuss their thoughts on the NCAA infractions case.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn point guard Lewis Monroe says that despite an offseason that has been filled with the turmoil of changing coaching staffs and going through the waiting game of hearing from the NCAA on the Tigers' sanctions, things are starting to look up for himself and his teammates.

"This has all turned out working out well," the upcoming senior notes. "We have got a good coach. He has a good heart for the game. He has been working with us and we like the way he coaches. Also, we got that probation out of the way so that is a good thing."

Monroe says that he feels like a weight was lifted off of his shoulders on Tuesday when he heard the news. "I found out this morning that we got probation and that we were losing a scholarship each year, but we can still play in a postseason tournament so that was good news.

"That is a big relief," Monroe adds. "Now everything is in place. We have got that out of the way and we have got our new head coach and now we have just got to finish up school and start playing basketball."

Fellow guard and senior to be Nathan Watson says that it could have been a trying time for the Tigers next year had the NCAA Committee on Infractions' sanctions been more severe.

"I mean we can't predict, but if we were having a good season and were able to have postseason and not being able to have it that would have been a very emotional time for us," Watson explains. "But, it is just a big relief that we have it."

Lewis Monroe

Watson also notes that the severity of the NCAA's sanctions was something that was in the forefront of his mind throughout the long and tedious process. "Like I said before, I think it could have been more drastic than it was and we are just glad that it wasn't," he says. "So, with us being seniors we are just glad we can be able to have a post season this year."

Monroe adds that having to wait so long on the decision was one of the hardest things for him. "Yeah, every week they kept pushing it back, saying no it was this week, no that week, but it finally came through and it wasn't as bad as we thought it was," he says.

If the sanctions had included a postseason ban any of the Tigers' players could have transferred without having to sit out a year. However, Monroe says that topic was not something he ever heard mentioned. "Not from what I know of," the point guard says about whether any of his teammates planned on transferring if the Tigers had received a postseason ban. "I know myself, I was planning on staying regardless, but I haven't heard anybody else talking about it."

One player whose future with the Tigers is still in limbo is forward Marco Killingsworth. "I think he is still going to go ahead with his original plan," Watson says about Killingsworth's strategy to test the NBA draft waters without signing with an agent. "But, I mean if things don't work out that way he will definitely be back."

Nathan Watson

Overall, Watson says that the ruling from the NCAA should have a positive effect on himself and his teammates heading into their offseason work with new head coach Jeff Lebo.

"It will definitely make you want to work harder," Watson explains about finally knowing the penalties. "It's like anything that burdens you--kind of holds you down and kind of holds you back a little bit, but just having this decision just helps us spring forward and gives us a lot more confidence to work hard."

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