Lebo Looking for More Progress From Tigers

Auburn men's basketball coach Jeff Lebo discusses his team's performance in preseason practices.

Auburn, Ala.--With Auburn's first exhibition game of the men's basketball preseason a week from Friday, Coach Jeff Lebo says his Tigers have plenty of work to do to be ready for the 2006-2007 season.

Lebo says injuries to a pair of newcomers have hindered his team's preparations.

"We have had a couple of injuries," Auburn's third-year head coach says. "Reed with a groin has been out a couple of days and Lucas Hargrove has had an ankle problem. That hurts a little bit because we are going to ask these guys to play early and be ready early. It is probably not fair to them, but they have to get ready."

Hargrove is a 6-6 freshman from Richland Northeast High in Columbia, S.C., who will be counted on for significant minutes at forward early in the season with junior Quan Prowell and sophomore Josh Dollard suspended to start the season. Hargrove could also see action at the shooting guard spot this year.

Lucas Hargrove will be counted on to help Auburn on the boards, especially early in the season.

DeWayne Reed is a 6-1 guard from Wheatley High in Houston, Tex., who is practicing and trying to get back to full speed. Lebo says he hopes to have Hargrove back on the court at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum "in a day or two."

Auburn will take on Faulkner University in its first exhibition game on Nov. 3rd at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers will have a second exhibition home game on Nov. 7th vs. AUM before opening the regular season on Nov. 10th vs. visiting Troy.

The Tigers will be looking help from three other newcomers--6-10 freshman forward Matt Heramb, 6-4 guard Kelvin Lewis and 6-4 guard Archie Miaway, a junior college transfer from Tallahassee Community College.

Key returnees for the Tigers are junior guard Frank Tolbert, sophomore guard/forward Rasheem Barrett, sophomore forward Korvotney Barber and sophomore point guard Quantez Robertson.

"I think the older guys have a leg up on the younger guys," Lebo says. "There is some thinking involved in playing at pace. I think in a pickup game, or even in an individual workout, it is a different pace when they get out here going five on five with the coaches to play the way we want to play. I think the young guys are learning that. They will get better after some games. They will need to learn that. To think and play at the pace we want has been a struggle."

Lebo says the Tigers are about where he expected them to be at this stage of the preseason after starting practice on Oct. 13th. "We are doing some different things," he notes. "It is always slow in practice when you are doing some different things offensively. "They are learning and it is a little bit slow, but that is to be expected."

The most serious injury the Tigers have had in the preseason is a broken bone in the foot of Ryan Brooks, an invited walk-on forward who is 6-6, 215 from Houston Academy in Dothan.

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