Tigers Need Impact From Prowell

Jeff Lebo talks about the importance of Quan Prowell in the Auburn lineup.

Auburn, Ala.--Aside from Korvotney Barber's 35-44 from the field this season, consistent scoring hasn't been a strong area of the Auburn basketball team through five games. The Tigers' have the athleticism to get to the rim to put the ball in the basket, but jump shots haven't been their forte.

That may change to a degree with the return of 6-8 senior Quan Prowell, who will make his return to the lineup versus West Virginia on Wednesday night.

"That's big," head coach Jeff Lebo says of Prowell's impact on the offensive end. "We've had to try to find a way to be successful during this stretch, and we're very small. We get spread out and we've got to beat people with penetration and make some shots.

Quan Prowell takes the basketball to the basket last season as a junior.

The Tigers improved to 4-1 on Sunday with a 74-70 victory over George Washington despite lackluster shooting from long range.

"It was amazing with the GW game that we shoot 3-18 (on threes) and win that game," Lebo notes. "One more guy that can make a perimeter shot will open it up even more for Korvotney Barber underneath the basket."

With Prowell's absence, as well as the season-long medical leave of Josh Dollard, the numbers have been limited for Lebo inside. Prowell has the size to play inside and the skill to play outside so his return should be able to help more than just the offense.

"Quan can play 5, 4 or 3 for us," Lebo explains. "He's practiced at every one of those spots. What you add with Quan is a little more size and one of our better perimeter shooters. He shot the ball well for us last year, and he's a guy that has some speed and athleticism in the open court. Hopefully he'll get us a rebound or two because we struggle when the ball goes in the air."

Five Tigers have averaged 29 minutes or more through five games, a pace that is sure to have an effect through the long season.

"We've had some iron men out there," Lebo says. "Quantez (Robertson) and DeWayne Reed have had two games during that stretch where they didn't come out. Korvotney Barber played 40 minutes in our last game.

"I've got to make a decision as coach being fresh or how much practice time we're going to have," he continues. "That's a tough call for me to make, but Quan being back hopefully will give them a few minutes to get on the pine and rest when they give tired signals. Vot gave me a tired signal twice in the GW game. He looked over at the bench, gave me a tired signal and I looked the other way."

After his transfer from Furman, Prowell was suspended for the first 11 games of the 2006-2007 season. In his first game in an Auburn uniform, he fouled out with just six points in nine minutes against Tennessee State.

However, in his second game against highly-ranked Texas A&M, Prowell scored 20. He finished his junior season averaging 12 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Prowell was second on the team in free throws at 76.2 percent, second behind Barber in field goal percentage at 50, and far and away the leading three-point shooter on the team at 43.2 percent.

"I think he'll be ready to go," Lebo says of Prowell. "It'll be interesting to see, but I think he'll be able to step right in and be able to play.

"He needs to be more aggressive offensively," Lebo continues. "He's a good player. He's not a selfish kid on the court by any stretch of the imagination. We've got to get him more selfish to try to do some things. He's not a guy who forces shots or tries to create for himself. He needs to do that a little bit more with this team this year."

Auburn and West Virginia will play following Alabama and Georgetown at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center on Wednesday as a part of the Pizza Hut Big East/SEC Invitational. The Tigers and Mountaineers are scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off with television coverage on ESPN2.

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