2009-2010 Auburn Tigers Basketball Preview
Last season, the Auburn Tigers (24- 12 overall, 10- 6 SEC) posted their first winning conference record in years, finishing second and venturing to the NIT. At the tournament they made it to the quarterfinals where they were beaten in a close one by Baylor 74- 72. Second-place will be difficult for this team to accomplish this season, but they will still offer league clubs some very tough competition.
The Tigers had the best defense in the SEC, allowing just 65.4 PPG. Their scoring offense, however, was ranked ninth as they put up an average of 72.8 PPG. They were also ninth in threes, hitting them at a rate of 33%. The team’s overall field goal percentage wasn’t much better as they were rated eighth, completing 44% of their tries. However, there worst stats were in foul shooting where they hit a mere 61% (12th) and rebound margin, which was at minus-0.1 (10th).
Junior college transfer Kenny Gabriel arrives ready to play inside ball tough and big. He’s what the Tigers need upfront. He can also hit from the wing. Senior Lucas Hargrove (8.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.8 APG) offers similar attributes. Although Hargrove can be inconsistent, he has fine energy and solid defensive skills. Freshman center Rob Chubb could contribute important minutes if he adds bulk over the summer. Off the bench, seniors Brendon Knox and Johnnie Lett will give some quality minutes each game.
Senior DeWayne Reed (13.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.7 APG) manned a fine point last season, ably directing and creating plays. He might be All-SEC this year. Shooting guard Tay Waller (12.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.5 APG), senior, can knockdown threes quickly and often. Sophomore Frankie Smith (7.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.4APG) worked hard to quickly develop into a quality contributor last season. There’s a host of freshmen who will also see action.
It will be tough for coach Jeff Lebo to replace his tough and
determined team leader: forward Korvotney Barber (12.8 PPG, 9.6
RPG, 1.2 BPG). Still, there is quite a bit of veteran talent on
this Auburn team and they should not be dismissed. Coach Lebo
will need to find the right combos to makeup for Barber’s
absence and someone will have to step up to lead. After their
first NIT berth in a long time and a decent showing in that tournament,
the Tigers and their fans are hungry for a NCAA invite. More likely,
Auburn will once again attend the other tourney.