Lebo put his Tigers through a two-hour workout on Friday night, the first of the 2006-2007 season. The Tigers obviously have more athleticism and depth than last year's squad that finished 12-16.
"It's nice to be able to put seven guys out there who have a semblance of knowing what it is going to be like," Lebo says. "They kind of know what is expected of them. They kind of know where to go and the physical nature of the game now.
"With the coaches out there, putting in defense we have a good feel with those seven guys who are veteran players," says Lebo, who adds, The freshmen did well for the first day."
Lebo notes that 6-3 guard Quantez Robertson, 6-7 forward Korvotney Barber and 6-5 guard/forward Rasheem Barrett were voted as captains of the 2006-2007 squad by their teammates. "We have got three captains who are sophomores so they are our vets," the coach says.
Robertson, a returning starter at point guard who averaged 4.6 assists per game, says, "We looked pretty good. We are going to be a fast team this year so we have got to get our big men running up and down the court."
Quantez Robertson (23) is shown in Friday night's practice.
Robertson says he feels like he has made strides as a player and a leader. "I have improved very much since my freshman year," he says. "I am leading the team a little bit better, too. I am getting the team involved and being more vocal this year."
Lebo says at the first practice a pair of freshmen guards from Texas, 6-4 Kelvin Lewis and 6-1 DeWayne Reed, had a good opening practice along with 6-6, 185 swingman Lucas Hargrove from Columbia, S.C., who is expected to open the season at forward with the suspensions of junior forward Quan Prowell and sophomore forward Josh Dollard to open the season.
Kelvin Lewis (5) and DeWayne Reed (12) are shown at their first full squad college practice.
The depth that this team has will be tested early with two of the better scorers and rebounders on the team suspended. "Lucas is going to have to be in a little unfair spot here to start because he is going to have to play a little bit at the four (power forward) spot until we get Josh and Quan back," Lebo says. Dollard is expected to return to action in November. Prowell will be back in December. Both players can practice, but not see game action.
"Lucas is going to play a little bit out of position and then he is going to have to take some time to go back to his natural position (small forward/big guard) and learn that position," Lebo adds. "He is going to be in two spots until we get the other guys back."
In addition to Robertson (8.0 points per game), Dollard (9.1 points) and Barrett (11.1 points per game), Auburn returns three other starters with junior Frank Tolbert (9.1 points per game) joined by forward Korvotney Barber (6.9 points per game).
"We are going to build and see what we can do," Lebo says of his plans for the first week of practice. "For the young kids, it is kind of like boot camp. Now they have to do it over and over again, and their bodies have to get in shape. We don't want to get anybody hurt or injured."
Lebo notes he hopes that a player who went down at the first practice is not seriously hurt. Walk-on Ryan Brooks, a 6-6, 215 freshman forward from Houston Academy in Dothan, injured his foot and will have it X-Rayed this weekend.
Juco transfer Archie Miaway, a 6-4, 202 guard from Tallahassee, Fla., Community College, showed a good shooting touch in his first AU practice.
In other news from Tiger basketball:
*Lebo and his staff were hosts for a three-on-three tournament for students that ran late into the night Friday. The winner of the event will play the coaching staff at 12:30 p.m. at the coliseum on Saturday. The head coach introduced his team to the three-on-three contestants and then walked around the floor talking to the participants and watching the action.
*The Tigers will work out at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and the women's team will practice at 3:30 p.m. after a 9:30 a.m. opening practice.
*The Tigers will sign autographs in front of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.
*Auburn will play exhibition home games on Nov. 3rd vs. Faulkner and Nov. 7 vs. AUM and will follow that with a schedule that includes 20 regular season home games. AU opens the regular season Nov. 10th at home vs. Troy.