Prowell Providing Lift For Lebo's Tigers

Forward Quan Prowell has given the Tigers a lift with his scoring and rebounding.

Auburn, Ala.--After sitting out the 2005-2006 season as a transfer from Furman and the first 11 games this season, Quan Prowell has been playing his way back into his basketball game tempo rhythm.

Prowell is Auburn's leading scorer with an average of 12.8 points per contest. Auburn coach Jeff Lebo and Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy both say that the junior is one of the key reasons why Auburn is in first place in the SEC West.

The Tigers will try to stay in first place when they return to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum for a 1 p.m. CST contest on Saturday vs. the Rebels. There is no television coverage of the game.

Auburn is 4-4 in the SEC and Ole Miss is 3-5, a half-game back of 3-4 Arkansas and Alabama. LSU and Mississippi State are 2-5.

Prowell is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game since returning from his suspension to open the season when Lebo held out the 6-7, 215 forward for violating team rules. In the last five games Prowell has picked up his pace. He is averaging 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while hitting 13-24 threes in that stretch.

"I am getting closer," Prowell says when asked if he is back in a groove after being out of game competition for so long. "I feel like I am getting a lot closer than before. Hopefully, I can be more and more involved in the offense and defense. Right now I think taking it step by step is good."

Lebo likes the junior's ability to score outside on threes and inside with a post-up game plus slashing moves to the basket. The Auburn coach has talked to Prowell about the need to become more assertive and there are signs that is happening.

"I hope I am getting more aggressive," Prowell says. "That is what everybody is looking for. I am trying to understand at what times in the game to be more aggressive. That is a big thing I need to work on."

Many predicted the Tigers were still rebuilding this year and had no chance to win the SEC West title. However, Prowell says he wasn't in that group and notes that he and his teammates have been talking about earning an NCAA Tournament berth going all the way back to preseason.

Quan Prowell

The Tigers have a lot work to do before positioning themselves for an NCAA bid, but halfway through the conference season the Tigers are in first place in the division after winning 80-75 on Wednesday night at South Carolina. Prowell says he believes the Tigers have a chance to stay atop of the divisional standings.

"We feel like we have a pretty good shot," he says. "We handled the strongest part of the schedule pretty good with all of the ranked teams at the beginning. Now we just have to play solid and finish out the season and hopefully we will be on top."

Lebo says the Tigers are still trying to develop team chemistry with Prowell and Josh Dollard both missing playing time early in the season and Kelvin Lewis being limited by a foot injury. "We are getting close," Prowell contends. "I don't think we are there yet, but we are closer than we were at the beginning."


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