Record in 2003-04: 14-14 and 5-11 in conference play.
New Players (rankings from PrepStars)
|Daniel Hayles||6-5||Freshman||Top 400|
Brandon Robinson (6-8) should be the leading returning scorer and rebounder if he retains his eligibility. Joining him in the starting lineup will be 6-3 shooting guard Ian Young, 6-3 Nathan Watson, freshman Toney Douglas at point guard, and 6-6 Quinnel Brown. 6-5 Ronnie LeMelle is the sixth man. Freshman Ryan Daniel will be pressed into service underneath, and Tolbert is likely to play a lot of minutes.
Young and Douglas are excellent outside shooters, and Brown can also make the threes. Robinson will get his points in close. Watson and LeMelle are not known to be great scorers, but on a given night they can contribute significantly. Tolbert is extremely athletic and will take it to the basket. With Douglas leading the attack, new Coach Jeff Lebo is likely to have the Tigers running more than they have in recent years.
Rebounding and Defense
Obviously Auburn doesn't have much size except for the untested Daniel. If Robinson isn't eligible, they will have a very hard time on the backboards against the better conference opponents. The defense gave up 71 points per game last year, even with center Kyle Davis (best shotblocker in the conference) swatting them away.
There are five seniors, but Gaines won't play much, and LeMelle doesn't have a lot of experience. Depth will be a problem. Outside shooting is likely to be a strong area, but there isn't a lot of punch inside.
Overall Prospects for 2004-05
Lebo is off to a fast start in his recruiting, but his first season on the court will be a struggle. The loss of Killingsworth, who transferred to Indiana, and the subsequent departure of Curtis and Monroe reduced Auburn's possibilities severely. Douglas is likely to become a star, and Tolbert has possibilities. The presence of Robinson is the key to a respectable season, say 6-10 in conference play. Even with Robinson, Auburn is picked here to finish fifth in the SEC West. If Auburn must play without him, the Tigers will have to scratch and claw to stay ahead of the Ole Miss Rebels.