Lebo: Better Days Ahead For AU Basketball

Heading into the SEC tournament on Thursday, Jeff Lebo is just 26-32 in two seasons at Auburn.

Auburn, Ala.--In all likelihood, Auburn's basketball season will come to an end in Nashville on either Thursday night or Friday night.

The Tigers will end the season with at least 12 wins, with four coming in conference play. Playing with mostly freshmen, both numbers are more than many people thought were possible.

Next year, however, the Tigers won't have the excuse of being too short or too young like in the past two seasons. It will be time for freshmen to mature into sophomores and start competing for postseason play.

"This summer will be a big test for them in how bad they want to work on their weaknesses and get better," says head coach Jeff Lebo.

Expecting to lose just one player of significant contribution in senior Ronny LeMelle, the Tigers should be improved with a strong base of players returning.

Rasheem Barrett has been a scoring threat and solid rebounder in his first collegiate season.

"I think Joey Cameron is a kid, who in the last three games, continues to play better and better and earn more time," Lebo says. "Tez (Quantez Robertson) has been consistent. Rasheem (Rasheem Barrett) has been fairly consistent all year. Barber (Korvotney Barber) has gotten a lot better.

"All of those guys have, I think, grown tremendously during this year," Lebo says. "They've had a tremendous learning experience for all of them."

Another freshman who contributed this season was Josh Dollard, who has missed the last four games because a violation of team rules and will not play in the SEC tournament. He has been practicing with the team since his suspension and is expected to return next year.

Lebo signed two players in the early signing period, 6-4 guard Kelvin Lewis and 6-6 forward Lucas Hargrove, and is expected to sign two more in the late period, according to Lebo.

Perhaps the biggest boost will come from Furman transfer Quan Prowell, who redshirted this season with the Tigers.

Quan Prowell

"Quan is a guy who can do a lot of things," Lebo says of the 6-8 guard/forward combo. "He can put it on the floor, he can shoot it, he can run and defend a lot of positions. His versatility is going to be big for us out there. His experience is going to be big for us. He can handle the basketball and he can take it coast to coast. He can block a shot and he's athletic. He can play in and he can play out."

With the return of Frank Tolbert and Daniel Hayles, who have been inconsistent on the offensive end but solid defenders in the last two seasons, as well as juniors Brett Howell and Moses Edun, Lebo could finally have the depth and talent to compete at a higher level.

"We should be ready to make another move up," Lebo says.

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