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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Auburn coach will have tall task in first season

I wrote a story for today's newspaper looking forward to what the Auburn basketball team has coming back in 2010-11. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Whoever becomes Auburn’s new basketball coach will get the benefit of playing in a new $92.5 million arena, but with a roster lacking experience across the board he will face a difficult task competing immediately.

Auburn, which fired sixth-year coach Jeff Lebo last Friday after a 15-17 season, will be among the youngest teams in the conference next season.

The Tigers lose five seniors — DeWayne Reed, Lucas Hargrove, Tay Waller, Brendon Knox and Johnnie Lett — who accounted for 62 percent of the team’s minutes, 69 percent of its scoring and 61 percent of its rebounding. That group includes Auburn’s top three scorers and rebounders, its top two assist men and two of its three most prolific 3-point shooters.

Read the full thing here. And follow the blog on Twitter.

Here's a look at what's coming back for the Tigers next season and they're production in the major categories. It ain't pretty:

  • Frankie Sullivan: 31.1 mpg
  • Earnest Ross: 13.4 mpg
  • Andre Malone: 10.7 mpg
  • Kenny Gabriel: 7.8 mpg
  • Josh Wallace: 7.5 mpg
  • Sullivan: 12.7 ppg
  • Ross: 2.8 ppg
  • Gabriel: 2.8 ppg
  • Malone: 2.7 ppg
  • Ty Armstrong: 2.0 ppg
  • Sullivan: 3.7 rpg
  • Ross: 3.0 rpg
  • Malone: 1.9 rpg
  • Armstrong: 1.6 rpg
  • Rob Chubb: 1.6 rpg
  • Sullivan: 62
  • Ross: 24
  • Wallace: 24
  • Tony Neysmith: 10
  • Malone: 6
  • Sullivan: 63 (37 percent)
  • Ross: 15 (22 percent)
  • Malone: 12 (21 percent)
  • Gabriel: 11 (31 percent)
  • Larry Williams: 5 (33 percent)


Anonymous said...

This was not a problem that had to happen. As much as I like Coach Lebo, I was always concerned that for most of the season, his young players got very little floor time. For a good part of the season, most of the starters were averaging nearly 40 minutes per game which might also explain their inability to go full bore for an entire game.

Anonymous said...

I think we won't be any worse than we were this past season. With a new coach we might just make an NIT run. A lineup of Salter, Sullivan, Gabriel, Armstrong, and Kemp could be very good my mid-season. Ross could even start too.

We're better off next season with a new coach than we would have retaining Lebo!!

Anonymous said...

I think the potential suckitude of next year's team was a primary factor in the dismissal. JJ knew it wasn't going to get better anytime soon.