Opening Night: Scouting Lebo's Tigers

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn prepares to open the 2007-2008 basketball season, Inside the Auburn Tigers analyzes Coach Jeff Lebo's team

The Tigers, who finished 17-15 last season, will open the regular season at 8 p.m. on Friday night in New Orleans vs. Tulane. The Tigers will play without starting junior forward Josh Dollard, who is out for the season while taking a medical redshirt, and senior forward Quan Prowell, who is suspended for the first six games.

The Tigers will play their home opener on Tuesday vs. Kennesaw State.

Kortovney Barber, 6-6 junior forward--With Dollard and Prowell missing in action, Barber will be counted on to play significantly more minutes than the past two seasons when he averaged 21.3 minutes as a freshman and 25.5 as a sophomore. Barber, who averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds as a sophomore, has worked extensively on his horrible free throw shooting (43.8 percent) and his strength around the basket.

A quick leaper who runs the floor well and plays with intensity, Vot has 98 blocks in two seasons. He hit an impressive 60.7 percent of his field goals as a sophomore, but most of those were very close to the basket. He has worked on his mid-range jumper in an effort to become a more complete player. Lebo is going to need Barber to increase his scoring average for a team that will start the season with questionable offensive firepower.

Rasheem Barrett, 6-5 junior guard–He will open the season at well below full-speed due to injuries. The big guard, who can also play small forward, was impressive on Auburn's exhibition tour to Mexico this summer and also gained valuable experience on an exhibition tour of China. He averaged 11 points and 3.9 rebounds as a sophomore, but didn't play up to expectations based on a stronger performance his freshman season. Lebo was counting on him to be a major force offensively, but for now the concern is getting Barrett back to full speed.

Rasheem Barrett has seen extensive playing time the past two seasons.

Lucas Hargrove, 6-6 sophomore forward–He played in just 17 of Auburn's 32 games last season with most of his action prior to the start of conference action. Hargrove averaged 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game and played inconsistently as a freshman. Up to 199 pounds, he is significantly stronger than he was last year and has a golden opportunity to earn extensive playing as a reserve with the Tigers missing two forwards. He played well in Mexico, but hasn't been as impressive in practice or the exhibition game and that is a real concern. Lebo needs him to step up his performance level now.

Matt Heramb, 6-9 sophomore forward–Up to 235 pounds, he has improved his strength. He saw action in just 13 games and averaged 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds. A player with a solid shooting touch, even from long range, Heramb is expected to see significantly more playing time this year. A key for his improvement is to become more aggressive on both ends of the floor. If he can do that, the Tigers will have a much better chance to win games early in the season with Prowell watching from the sidelines.

Archie Miaway, 6-4 senior guard–Counted on to provide immediate help offensively as a transfer from junior college, he was disappointing last season. Miaway started twice and played in 29 games, but never showed the kind of shooting touch Lebo was hoping to see. He hit just 34.9 percent of his shots and made 32.9 percent of his threes while averaging 3.6 points and 1.0 rebound. Making matters worse, he is academically ineligible until the end of fall semester classes and has missed significant practice time this fall with a knee injury.

Quan Prowell, 6-8 senior forward–He averaged 12 points and 5.3 rebounds following a redshirt season after transferring from Furman. If he doesn't have any more off the court issues, his suspension will be lifted in time for the senior to play in game six on Dec. 5th vs. West Virginia. Prowell is an inside-outside threat who hit an impressive 43.2 percent of his treys last season. He runs the floor well and added strength in the offseason conditioning program. A player with the potential to have a breakout season, his offensive skills and game experience will be missed.

DeWayne Reed, 6-1 sophomore guard–A quick and athletic player who steadily improved as a freshman, he suffered a setback by breaking a bone in his foot during Auburn's first exhibition game in Mexico. Close to 100 percent physically, he is expected to see plenty of action at point guard and will be counted on to be a serious scoring threat with the Tigers short-handed to open the season.

Quantez Robertson, 6-3 junior guard–After working as a ironman point guard his freshman season, he split his time between the point and two-guard spots as a sophomore. Lebo is looking for more scoring from Robertson, who averaged 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds last season while dishing out 5.1 assists per game. A high intensity performer who always gives a big effort on defense, Tez is a team leader who is respected by his teammates and coaches.

Quantez Robertson has started all 60 games since he arrived at Auburn as freshman.

Boubacar Sylla, 7-1 freshman center–A developmental player without an extensive background in basketball, he has a nice shooting touch, runs the floor well for a 280-pounder and looks like he has the potential to help the Tigers this season. With very long arms, he plays even taller than 7-1. AU coaches have been working on his post moves to try to take advantage of his tremendous size. Stamina and his lack of experience against high level competition are likely to be issues.

Frank Tolbert, 6-4 senior guard--A player who has extensive starting experience going back to his freshman year, "Frank the Tank" will be relied on to become one of the main scorers in addition to continuing his role as a defensive stopper. He averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. A full-speed guy who is always a threat to get into early foul trouble, Tolbert must learn when to back off because he is going to be needed to play extensive minutes because of his experience and his ability to play any position on the court.


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