AU Releases Douglas From Scholarship

Guard Toney Douglas will not be part of the 2005-2006 Auburn basketball team.

Auburn, Ala.--Toney Douglas, who earned Freshman All-SEC honors at Auburn this past season, won't be a part of the 2005-2006 team.

Douglas, who declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, is not considered a likely pro draft pick. He said if he wasn't a first round selection, he planned to return to Auburn for his sophomore season.

However, the guard won't be returning to Jeff Lebo's Auburn program, the coach announced on Tuesday.

Lebo announced that the university has granted the six-foot-one guard a release from his Auburn scholarship to any non-Southeastern Conference university.

"Toney is a good kid," Lebo said. "I feel that last year was extremely positive as he had an outstanding freshman season at Auburn. Unfortunately, there were some unrealistic demands and expectations placed upon Auburn basketball and the coaching staff."

At a press conference announcing his decision to test the NBA draft waters, Toney's father, Harry Douglas, all but demanded that Lebo play his son at point guard this coming season. Lebo was in the room at the time the demands were made and the coach and Harry Douglas discussed the situation since the press conference.

Lebo refused to make a commitment to play Douglas exclusively at any position, but did note that Douglas should expect to play some point guard in addition to the two-guard spot where he started as a freshman.

Douglas was signed by Coach Cliff Ellis out of Jonesboro, Ga., High, but Ellis was fired as head coach and replaced by Lebo before Douglas enrolled at Auburn last summer. The guard led the Tigers in scoring as a freshman as he averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals last season.

"Due to the untimely nature of this decision, it will be extremely difficult to fill Toney's scholarship," Lebo said. "I feel the program gave him every opportunity to achieve both his individual and team goals. We wish Toney the best of luck in his future endeavors."

Auburn did add a late signee to the recruiting class when 5-11, 175 guard Michael Woodard of Los Angeles Southwest Junior College selected the Tigers. A native of Atlanta, he played at Creekside High before signing with Youngstown State. He spent one season there and transferred to junior college after Youngstown fired its coach.

Woodard averaged 18 points and 6.1 assists per game at LA Southwest. He is scheduled to begin classes at Auburn on June 26th.

Bill Cameron of the SportsCall afternoon radio show in Auburn reported that Douglas had plans to transfer to Ole Miss, where former Auburn assistant coach Tracy Dildy is a member of the coaching staff. However, if Douglas does that he will have to pay his own way for a year before being allowed to play in 2006-2007. If he transfers to an non-SEC Division I school, he would have to redshirt for the 2005-2006 season. If he transfers to a Division II or NAIA program, he could play this coming season.


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