Tigers Still Installing Offense, Defense

A report on the Auburn men's basketball team's practices is featured. The Tigers are scheduled to play their first exhibition game next week.

Auburn, Ala.--With two weeks of practices completed and six days to go prior to Auburn's first exhibition basketball game, Coach Jeff Lebo says his Tigers are still in a learning mode.

"Practice has been going okay," he says. "We have still been keeping it pretty simple. We are starting to work a little bit offensively now. We have spent the majority of time defensively and working with our man to man.

"We are starting now to put in some plays and offensive sets--out of bounds under, out of bounds side, out of bounds out front so this is a time when we have got to get it moving a little bit and we haven't put in any other defenses in yet."

The Tigers will play Bluefield College at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The regular season starts on Nov. 9th at Tulane.

The Tigers return seven players with extensive starting experience from a team that posted a 17-15 record last season. The group includes seniors Frank Tolbert and Quan Prowell, juniors Quantez Robertson, Rasheem Barrett, Kortvotney Barber and Josh Dollard along with sophomore DeWayne Reed.

"I think our older guys will be fine," Lebo says of the group's progress in practice. "We will see how Boubacar, our freshman, can handle it when we start making those changes. That is a key for us on how fast we can move."

Boubacar Sylla is a seven-foot-one center, the only incoming signee on the 2007-2008 roster. Lebo says he has been pleased without how the big man from Paris, France has been practicing the past two weeks.

Boubacar Sylla

"He has handled it very well," the coach says. "He hasn't missed practice. He has picked up things a lot faster than I would have anticipated. He understands and tries to do what I ask. I worried about that with him because of the language barrier, but he has been outstanding so far understanding what we are trying to do and why we are trying to do it and being able to execute what we have in right now."

Senior guard Archie Miaway, who is academically ineligible until the end of the fall semester, has been limited by tendonitis in his knee. Auburn's other injured guard, sophomore Reed, is making progress from surgery this summer to repair a broken bone in his foot that suffered in Auburn's first exhibition game victory in Mexico.

"He is getting better every single day," Lebo says of Reed, a a 6-1, 175-pounder from Houston, Tex., who averaged 5.4 points and three assists per game last season.

"He is still a little sore at the end of practices and he is still not in the best of shape yet," Lebo says. "He has still got to get confident on it, but now he is pretty much making it through all of practice without any real soreness or a lot of soreness until the last 30 minutes of practice.

"We had to pull him the first week a couple times in the last 20 or 30 minutes of practice because his foot was sore. If we can keep him moving pretty good he is fine. If we have to stop and teach sometimes he can't make it through. I anticipate by our first game he is going to be 100 percent."

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