It's Basics Ball Time for Lebo's Tigers

Jeff Lebo discusses his team, including who is looking good among the large group of new players.

Auburn, Ala.--With seven newcomers on the roster, Jeff Lebo and his staff have been busy getting ready for the head coach's fifth season running the Auburn program.

"It's been going good," Lebo says of the early part of preseason practices. "We have been spending a lot of time defensively so our offense is well behind, especially the new guys.

"Defensively, we are going slow," he adds. "We have a lot of new faces. That is an area where we really need to get better so we are focusing on that. We are still a long way away."

The newcomers include 6-9 forward/center Francis Aihe from Santa Fe Community College in Florida, 6-10 Brendon Knox from Spartanburg Methodist (junior) College in South Carolina, 6-9 forward/center Johnnie Lett from Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Florida, 6-1 guard Frank Sullivan from R.C. Hatch High in Uniontown and 6-2 guard Tay Waller from Okaloosa-Walton.

Brendon Knox

Two more newcomers can practice this year as transfers from Division I programs. Brandon McGee is a 6-7 forward from Indiana, who will have three seasons of eligibility starting with the 2009-2010 season. Tony Neysmith, a 6-5 guard who played at Oklahoma last year, will also have three seasons of eligibility.

The newcomers have made the practices different than last year when the Tigers were short on numbers and had to rely on walk-ons.

"Our practices are competitive, which is nice," Lebo says. "We have some good competition inside and we have some good competition on the perimeter so that makes it fun.

"This time of the year is hard because we have long practices," he notes. "Most of the time we will be out here for three hours. That is a long time on the court."

Auburn will play an exhibition game on Nov. 7th vs. Morehouse at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The regular season opener is a week later as Missouri State comes to Auburn.

"We have got to get some more things in this week," Lebo says. "We have a scrimmage on Saturday and we have to get ready for that."

Jeff Lebo will be counting on experienced players like Lucas Hargrove (right), who is a junior this season.

The coach says in the early workouts the only true freshman on the team, Sullivan, has played well along with a pair of juco transfers who were teammates the past two seasons at Okaloosa-Walton.

"With Tay Waller's ability to shoot, you have to defend him all of the time and I really like Johnnie Lett, especially defensively," Lebo says.

Lett will be counted on to help with the rebounding. "We aren't real big as far as weight is considered, but inside defensively we should be a little bit better than we have in the past," the Auburn coach adds.


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