Talented Guard Getting Early Start

This Auburn hoops signee talks about getting a head start on his collegiate experience.

Auburn, Ala.--Jeff Lebo will have a variety of problems to overcome in his first season as basketball coach of the Auburn Tigers.

With two of the team's top big men transferring out of the program (Marco Killingsworth and Dwayne Curtis) and another (Brandon Robinson) likely to be academically ineligible, the Tigers are expected to have a tough time coping with the strong teams on their 2004-2005 schedule.

Lebo has the challenge of installing a new, faster paced style of play that Auburn fans will see this year. How the returning players will fit into that system is questionable, but there is little doubt that one of the players Lebo and his coaching staff inherited, incoming guard Toney Douglas, should adapt just fine.

"I like to play fast," Douglas tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "That is my style of game. I enjoy shooting the ball and running up and down the court."

Toney Douglas

Shooting ability is one of the reasons that Douglas developed into one of the top prospects in the country as a junior at Jonesboro, Ga., High School and received lots of early offers from major colleges after averaging more than 28 points per game. Douglas selected Auburn over Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, FSU, LSU, Tennessee, UConn, Alabama and others

Douglas signed with the Tigers in the early period last November and stuck with his decision to come to Auburn after Cliff Ellis was fired in the spring and replaced by Lebo.

The new Auburn head coach encouraged Douglas to come to campus early to make the adjustment to college easier and that is what the six-foot-one guard is doing. He is taking two classes and playing a lot of basketball.

"I have been working out and getting in shape so I will be in good condition for the start of the season," Douglas says. "I came to summer school so I could work with the team and get better. I think it is a good idea so I won't be shocked in the fall."

Douglas works out three days a week with his future teammates and does his own drills on other days. "I lift every day and do conditioning every day," he says. "I am trying to get bigger and stronger. I am trying to get to 190 pounds. I weigh 183 pounds now so I will be a strong point guard. Coach said he is going to play me at both guard spots, but mainly I am going to play point."

Douglas plans to return home to Jonesboro in July before reporting for fall semester classes, but before that happens he wants to take advantage of his time on campus.

"Right now I am working on my defense," he says. "I know that I am at the next level now so I have to improve."

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