Back Court Switch Paying Dividends

Jeff Lebo's decision to start a true freshman at the point guard position has worked two for two so far. The Tigers will try to make it three for three on at 7 p.m. Wednesday against LSU. The game will not be televised.

Auburn, Ala.--Quantez Robertson became Auburn's point guard the second he stepped on campus in the fall of 2005. He started every game as a true freshman and was forced to play nearly every minute of every game because back-up Michael Woodard quit the team mid-season.

Robertson has started every game for the Tigers again in the 2006-2007 season, the first 27 at point guard, but the last two have come at the shooting guard position with freshman DeWayne Reed stepping in at the point.

"He's doing a good job," Robertson says of Reed. "He asks me a lot of questions to try to figure out what to do and how to run certain plays. I'm just like a big brother to him trying to help him with things to do on the court and off the court."

Because of Rasheem Barrett's offensive struggles, Robertson gives the Tigers a more efficient scorer at the two guard and more importantly, the Reed and Robertson combo in the backcourt has given a defensive lift.

"I'd like to have two ball-handlers on the court at the same time," head coach Jeff Lebo explains. "I think it's helped us a little defensively with Quantez off the ball. He's pretty good off the ball and DeWayne Reed defensively is a little better on the ball. I think Quantez also is a tough rebounder. At the point guard he doesn't get a chance to rebound as much but at the two he gets a little more actively there. That at times has helped us."

It's a line-up that the Tigers used sparingly during games throughout the season, but Auburn was on a four-game losing streak before Lebo went with the backcourt duo on an extensive basis. The Tigers have won both games, against Arkansas and at Alabama, since.

"I think (DeWayne) is feeling a little more confident out on the floor and more at ease with what we're asking him to do," Lebo explains. "When DeWayne came he really wasn't a point guard, he was more of a scoring guard. He had to change his mentality to change to that position. He's had to think so much that it takes DeWayne a while to be comfortable out there.

"I think he's still a lot more comfortable on the floor when Quantez is on the floor with him. He's getting better and better every day. He got his first SEC road start at Alabama and that's a tough thing for a freshman to do. I thought he handled it and he looked poised out there for the most part for the minutes he was in there."

Reed is a freshman from Wheatley High School in Houston. He is averaging 5.3 points and three asssits this season.

The Tigers play LSU on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the home finale. With Darrel Mitchell at the point guard for John Brady last season the Bengal Tigers made it to the Final 4 before falling to UCLA. This year without a true point they have struggled to a 15-13 overall record and are in last place in the West at 4-10.

Garrett Temple, Terry Martin and Dameon Mason are the top three guards for LSU this season, but none are of the prototypical point guard style. Brady brings Ben Voogd off the bench, but he lacks the athleticism to overcome a solid on the ball defender like Reed.

"He's still learning that," Lebo says of Reed's ability to trouble opposing offenses. "I think he really could disrupt that more. He's trying to get in the right spot at the right time all the time. Once he gets completely comfortable, and again he's still a freshman, he can do that more and we can extend our defense a little bit more full court and put some pressure on the ball. I think he's pretty good at that."

For Robertson, Saturday will be a chance to play against some of his old teammates from Laurinburg Prep--starting center Magnum Rolle and reserve Chris Johnson.

"At prep school we didn't have much to do outside of school and basketball so we pretty much played basketball all day every day," Robertson notes. "Chris and Magnum were both a couple of doors down from my room so I hung out a lot with them. We still stalk over the computer and on the phone. They get in touch with me and I stay in touch with them."

There will be no television coverage of the game. Tickets are $15 and 300 $5 family section tickets will be available at the coliseum ticket off on Wednesday night.

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