Lett Learning the System for Lebo's Tigers

Johnnie Lett, a new member of the Auburn basketball team, has a chance to see significant playing time.

Auburn, Ala.--One of the new players the Auburn men's basketball team is counting on to contribute immediately is six-foot-eight junior college transfer Johnnie Lett.

He has been in the middle of the action on the court at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum as the Tigers prepare for their Nov. 14th season opener vs. Missouri State.

"Practice is going pretty good," Lett says. "It is competitive and tough. There is a lot of running. I am getting along with everybody. We have got a good chemistry going on with this team."

Lett spent the past two seasons at Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Niceville, Fla., and signed with Auburn in the early period in November of 2007 along with his teammate, guard Tay Waller, who is also a newcomer on the 2008-2009 Auburn team.

Lett originally signed with the University of Virginia as a senior at B.C. Rain High in Mobile where he averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds per game before staying closer to home and playing in the Florida Panhandle after having qualifying issues. Lett was not a big scorer in junior college. He averaged 5.4 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and he will be counted on for his rebounding and defense at Auburn.

"Getting adjusted to the running has been a big thing," Lett says in discussing his transition to the Auburn team. "We do a lot of running--up and down, up and down.

"We also do a lot of work in the weight room," he notes. "We didn't do a lot in junior college, but here you have to put in a lot of time in the weight room.

His work with the weights going back to the summer when he arrived on the AU campus has made a difference, Waller points out. "I weighed 200 pounds when I got here and I am up to 216 now," Lett says.

Johnnie Lett should add size on the boards this season for the Tigers.

On the court the junior's focus has been becoming more comfortable shooting with his left hand as well as learning Coach Jeff Lebo's system at two positions.

Lett has been working at the power forward and center spots in practice and notes that he is comfortable playing either facing the basket or with his back to the basket "I like both of the positions," he says. "They are pretty much the same."

Lebo says he likes what he has seen so far from the big man. "Johnnie is just a great worker," he says. "He comes to work every day, he is physical, he pays attention and he tries to do what we ask him to do.

He is a great kid to coach and he is very easy to coach," Lebo adds. "His junior college coach, Bruce Stewart, said that, too."

Lett says that his new teammates have welcomed him into the program and are helping with his transition from juco ball to the SEC. "The older guys have talked to us," he says. "They tell us what to do and how everything is going to be."

Lett is one of seven new scholarship players who joined the Auburn team this year.

"I think he is a guy who is going to get better and better as he gets more confidence on the court," Lebo says. "He has been terrific in the first week of practice in terms of being able to pick up things quickly."

The Tigers scrimmaged the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga on Saturday and Lett played well, Lebo says. "I thought Johnnie gave us a nice boost defensively and rebounding," Lebo notes. "I liked the energy he gave us."

Lett and the Tigers will go on public display for the first time on Friday with a 6 p.m. home exhibition game vs. Morehouse at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

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