The new Tiger basketball coach has added a second spring signee to go with a big forward and a pair of guards signed in November by Cliff Ellis and the former AU coaching staff.
Daniel Hayles, a 6-5 wing player at LeFlore High in Prichard, joins 6-11 forward Ryan Daniel from Goodpasture, Tenn., High as the first two signees for Lebo's coaching staff. They join guard Toney Douglas from Jonesboro, Ga., High School and guard Frank Tolbert from Red Level, Ala., High as the four-player Tiger signee class.
"We are excited about Daniel," Lebo says. "We think he will bring some toughness and some energy to our team. He played for a great coach at LeFlore (Otis Hugley) with a lot of history. He is kid from the state of Alabama that we are excited to have.
"Daniel is physical and tough. He brings a man's body in from high school, which is something that you don't see too often. We are looking forward to having him on our team as we are looking to build here. It is good to add a guy who is 6-5 and can play small forward for us. I think he is a kid who can defend a lot of people on the court."
As a senior, Hayles averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds while leading LeFlore to the 6A state playoffs Final Four. As a sophomore, he was the state tournament MVP as he led the Rattlers to the big school state title.
Hayles is a lefty who was a four-year starter at LeFlore playing for three different coaches. He is athletic player with excellent leaping ability.
"I love left-handers," Lebo says. "They are a little bit different to prepare for and play against because they do things backwards. He is athletic and he was the biggest guy on his team so he didn't play a lot on the perimeter in high school. He can score around the basket and he can also put the ball in the basket outside on the three. He has good form so I think he is a kid who is going to really improve in the future."
When he took the job at Auburn, Lebo said it was a priority to recruit hard in the state of Alabama and he says that the Tiger coaching staff featuring Brandon Johnson, John Cooper and Dave Lebo will keep that as a priority.
He also says that coming through with a strong signee class for the 2005-2006 season, which begins with the early signing period in November, is vitally important to the program's long-term health.
"We are working hard at that," Lebo says about recruiting. "It never ends. With the five/eight rule change coming into effect, your recruiting and scholarships are constantly changing depending on the situation within your team. We will obviously have a big class coming up. It is important for us to get a good base here without having a sophomore and junior class. We are going to have a lot of scholarships available."