Freshman Toney Douglas Making An Early Impact

Auburn guard Toney Douglas is making an impressive transition to college basketball.

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman Toney Douglas, a shooting guard with offers to almost every university in the Southeast, is enjoying a hot start to his collegiate career at Auburn scoring 19 points and pulling down six rebounds per game.

"It's going pretty well," he says of his first season. "I didn't plan on being 7-3. We should be 10-0, but everything's going good so far. It's like a family here. I love the campus and the atmosphere. I knew I could come in and play as a true freshman. I would have played as a true freshman at all of the SEC schools, but now I can play against them.

"I had offers to Kentucky, Wake Forest, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia, Clemson, South Carolina," he adds. "Most of the SEC and ACC schools offered me except for Duke."

Douglas, who recently finished his first semester of college classes, says everything is going well off the court. "I had five classes but I dropped one, so I only had four," he says. "It was different. High school doesn't ever prepare you for college. I know that. It was different. I've had to adjust to it, but now I'm doing all right."

He adds that he has developed a friendship with most of his teammates. "We all have a good relationship on and off the court. I'm a people person and I get along with anybody."

On the court the young sharp-shooter says that the transition to the college level hasn't been as big of a change. "It's the same except there's a lot more thinking," Douglas says. "It's a bigger court and you've got to be in shape. The way Coach Lebo's style is, it's the same. I love his style. Everybody told me that I'm in a great situation and I'd fit his style."

As a well-rounded player Douglas has shown the ability to score in many ways, whether it's knocking down a three, pulling up from 15 feet or taking it inside for a layup. In only his third college game, he tied the Auburn single game freshman scoring record by dropping 38 points on Nicholls State.

"Everybody knows I can shoot the three," the 6-1, 190-pound freshman from Jonesboro, Ga., says. "I like to show my other skills. I can penetrate, pull up, dish, and just show off my overall game."

He also scored 33 points in a near upset of the 24th-ranked Virginia Cavilers in Richmond. However, in the next game against Wofford, Douglas showed his freshman inexperience by having more turnovers (four) than points (three).

"I know if I'm not on then I've got to do the little things to help us win," he says. "I learned a lot from it."

Douglas has done the little things for the Tigers, shooting 74 percent from the foul line and leading the team in defensive rebounding at only 6-1.

"I know if I help the team rebound then we're going to have a chance to win," he says. "I had to do the same thing in high school with rebounding just like I'm doing now. I just took what I did in high school and brought it to the college level."

Douglas has shown solid fundamentals and says that he's always working on improving his game. "I stayed in the gym 24/7 growing up," he says. "Just like now, I just finished practice and I'm fixing to go shoot like I do everyday. Just shoot, working on my dribbling and my quickness."

Douglas and the Tigers are in Puerto Rico this week, playing in the San Juan Shootout. They handled Delaware with no problem in the opener, winning 74-46. On Tuesday the Tigers will play Middle Tennessee State

The Tigers will start conference play after Christmas "I'm looking forward to the SEC, especially games against Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State," Douglas says. "I'm ready for every game, but mostly Alabama."


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