SEC BASKETBALL PREVIEW: The Auburn Tigers

This is the next in our continuing preview of the 2002-03 SEC Men's basketball season. Today, hoops expert VeeMan gives us a preview of the Auburn Tigers.

Returning Players

                     MIN  PPG  %FG  %3P  %FT  REB AST

   -----------------------------------------

Marquis Daniels Sr    783 11.7 44.0 35.5 63.2 144 110

Derrick Bird Sr       807 10.9 39.4 31.3 70.0  84  30

Brandon Robinson So   604  8.7 46.9 30.2 46.6 142  17

Marco Killingswort So 524  7.9 52.7 ---  52.1 112  26

Dwayne Mitchell So    462  3.4 40.5 25.0 50.0  63  49

Kyle Davis Jr         460  5.5 47.1 ---  50.9 113  12

Lewis Monroe So       325  2.8 34.0 11.8 72.7  33  41

Nathan Watson So       99  2.0 29.7 25.0 42.9  15   5 

Players Lost

                     MIN  PPG  %FG  %3P  %FT  REB AST

---------------------------------------

Adam Harrington       698 10.0 39.1 35.7 69.3  83  49

Lincoln Glass         217  3.8 30.0 31.7 54.5  11  23

Abdou Diame           184  1.8 36.6 ---  33.3  26   2

Mack McGadney         178  4.4 29.8 36.4 80.0  29   1 

New Players and Rank in PrepStars

Steve Levin 6'4" Freshman (#197)

Rodney Tucker 6'8" (Top 100 JUCO)

Chris Lollar 6'0" (Top 100 JUCO)

Roscoe Biggers 5'11" (#281)

Troy Gaines 6'0" Junior (JUCO, did not play last year) 

Strengths

(1) Although key freshman recruit Terry Licorish (6'8", 235 lbs) did not qualify, rebounding could and should be strong, with 6'10" Kyle Davis, 6'8" Brandon Robinson, 6'8" Marco Killingsworth (240 lbs), 6'8" Rodney Tucker, and 6'6" Marquis Daniels. Daniels actually led the team in rebounding last year.

(2) Davis blocked an amazing 77 shots last year, and should continue to be the best shot-blocker in the conference. 

Weaknesses

(1) Daniels had to handle most of the duties at point guard and it affected his scoring. The team just didn't play together well.

(2) Free-throw shooting was terrible in 2001-2002, 59.3%, about 9% poorer than the opposition. Inability to make free throws was a large factor in the team's 12-16 overall record (4-12 in conference play).

(3) Outside shooting was another weak spot (31.5%) and the teams' best three point shooter (Harrington) made the mistake of entering the NBA draft. 

Keys

(1) Will team chemistry improve? Last year it hit rock bottom and three players (Glass, McGadney, and Diame) were kicked off the squad while the season was underway.

(2) Play at the wings must improve. It would help if Daniels could play there instead of at the point, so Lollar's ability to run the team is a big factor. Bird, 6'4", Mitchell, 6'4", Monroe, 6'5", Watson, 6'3" and Leven give Ellis several options. Some of these guys are going to have to shoot well if Auburn is to go anywhere. 

Near Certainties

Davis will block a lot of shots, but he won't score many himself. Killingsworth, Robinson, and Mitchell will improve and be solid contributors. 

Prospects for 2002-2003

The Tigers seem to have a lot of shooting problems and won't make the NCAA and probably not the NIT either. In the SEC West, they should finish ahead of Arkansas and possibly could edge ahead of LSU. 


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