Heramb Hopes Bigger Is Better

Comments from sophomore Matt Heramb and Coach Jeff Lebo are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn prepares to play three exhibition basketball games in Mexico this week, one of the players Coach Jeff Lebo plans to closely watch is sophomore Matt Heramb.

The six-foot-nine forward saw limited action as a freshman last season. Lebo says he wants to see how much of a difference a year in Auburn's strength and conditioning program has made.

Lebo notes that he will also be closely watching another sophomore, Lucas Hargrove, who plays the two guard and small forward positions.

"They want to play more and I think this is a great opportunity to show what they can do in game situations along with the 10 days of practice," Lebo says. "It is an opportunity to prove to us and their teammates that they deserve some more minutes.

"It is going to be vital for them as guys who haven't played as much to earn minutes in a game situation," Lebo adds.

Heramb played in 13 games last season and averaged 7.3 minutes of playing time per contest along with 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds. Hargrove played in 17 games. He averaged 10.1 minutes of playing time per game and scored 2.5 points per contest and averaged 2.0 rebounds.

Matt Heramb defends against teammate Quan Prowell in a scrimmage on Tuesday.

Heramb says he is excited about the tour and seeing what kind of success he can have in year two as a college basketball player.

"I am 235 now so I have gained 25 pounds since last year," he says. "Just gaining that weight has helped me a lot. I am a lot stronger. I can get in the post and bang a lot better.

"I have been working in the weight room on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and I have been eating a lot--not a lot of fast food," Heramb notes. "I eat protein shakes and stuff after lifting weights.

"I am really excited about the trip to Mexico," he says. "I have been out of the country going to Europe, but I have never been to Mexico."

Heramb agrees with his coach that this is an important time to show the coaches he has improved. "Lucas and I played a little bit last year, but not as much as Coach Lebo would like us to play," Heramb says. "This is a great opportunity."

Tiger Basketball Notes:

Lebo says the Tigers will be basic in their approach to the three games in Cancun, Mexico vs. Mexican pro teams. The first game is set for 7 p.m. CDT vs. the Quintana Roo Pioneros. "We have been fairly simplistic," Lebo says of his team's 10 practice days. "We are only going to play man to man when we are down there. We haven't put in any zones. We haven't really worked on the zone offense. If we get zoned down there, that could be a problem. I just don't know how they are going to play. Our kids are looking forward to playing what we hope is decent competition. We are expecting to face who are big and physical."

Incoming signee Boubacar Sylla, a 7-1 center, watches Tuesday's practice. As is the case with all incoming freshmen, he isn't allowed to compete on an exhibition foreign tour. Sylla has qualified to play for the Tigers this season. AU is still awaiting word on another signee, 6-8 forward Tyrell Lynch.

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