Josh Dollard, a 6-7, 225 sophomore forward, is expected to give Jeff Lebo's team a boost off the bench after missing the first six regular season games due to a suspension for violation of team rules.
Last season Dollard started 12 times and saw action in 23 games. He averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while making 44.5 percent of his field goals and 68.3 percent of his free throws.
"I think it is going to help us," Lebo says of Dollard's return. "Obviously, he is going to help our depth. It is going to take a while for him to get in game shape.
"We talked to him a little bit (Monday) about playing within himself when he gets back out here," Lebo notes. "It's a natural tendency to want to go out and try to set the world on fire your first game back. It's going to take some time for him, but it will give us some depth and some inside experience."
Josh Dollard is shown in action as a freshman. His high point game was 29 vs. Jacksonville State.
With Dollard available for action, the Tigers will be up to nine scholarship players for the 7 p.m. tipoff against 0-7 Nicholls State.
As early as Thursday's home game vs. Louisiana-Monroe, the Tigers could be up to 10 scholarship players if true freshman guard Kelvin Lewis is cleared for action. He suffered a preseason stress fracture in his foot. "Hopefully, we will give him some minutes on Thursday," Lebo says.
When Lewis is back the Tigers will be one player away from full strength until suspended forward Quan Prowell returns for the Tennessee State game on Dec. 19th.
The Tigers will try to bounce back from losses to Oklahoma State (66-65) and Wisconsin (77-63) in the South Padre Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Texas. Tuesday's game will be just the fourth meeting matching the Tigers and Nicholls State. Auburn won 92-78 in November 2004 and leads the series 2-1 vs. the Colonels from Thibodaux, La.
"Nicholls State hasn't won a game and one of the reasons why is its schedule," Lebo says. "They have played an unbelievably tough schedule on the road against high level people.
"They also got one of their better players back who was their leading scorer last year so they are going to get much better." Stefan Blaszczyznski, a 6-5, 215 senior guard from Australia, scored 21 points in his first game back against Ole Miss on Friday. The Rebels won that contest 100-80, rallying from a 48-42 halftime deficit.
In addition to Blaszczyznski, the Colonels start two other Australians--6-10, 215 senior center Mitch Boyce (5.4 points, 2.1 rebounds) and 6-6 ,206 sophomore forward Ryan Bathie (9.4 points, 4.7 rebounds).
The other starters for Nicholls State are 6-4, 200 junior guard Adonis Gray (18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds) and 6-6, 195 junior forward Aaron Scott (11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds).