#104 Auburn Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Auburn Tigers

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #104
Conference Rank: #10 SEC
Auburn Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Auburn Team Page


It is year three of the Tony Barbee era at Auburn and now it is time to take the next step. The next step may not be a huge one after winning just 11 games two years ago and 15 games last season, but a winning record is a good place to start. And a winning record could be enough to get the Tigers into the postseason. For the first time, Coach Barbee has a roster with more upperclassmen than underclassmen and that experience, especially within his system, will go a long, long way in the process of rebuilding the Auburn program.

2011-12 Record: 15-16, 5-11
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Tony Barbee
Coach Record: 26-36 at Auburn, 108-88 overall

Who’s Out:
But Auburn does lose some talented players, most notably Kenny Gabriel. The forward was a dynamic scorer, a solid rebounder and the best shot blocker the Tigers had. He averaged 12.2 points per game and would often stretch out the defense by knocking down some long balls. His 7.3 rebounds per game may be replaceable, but this group will certainly miss his offensive versatility and 2.3 blocks per contest. The frontcourt also loses roleplayers Adrian Forbes and Willy Kouassi. Forbes averaged 14.2 minutes per game last year and was a strong rebounding presence. The big loss on the perimeter is Varez Ward. He only started 17 games and saw his numbers decrease across the board during conference play, but he did end up third on the team with 9.0 points per game and led the Tigers by averaging 3.8 assists. Josh Langford only played in six conference games and 14 total, but he was a decent scorer when he was available during the 2011-2012 campaign.

Who’s In:
Coach Barbee picked up some quality freshmen who will attempt to make an immediate impact. The cream of the crop is wing Jordan Price. The 6-5 Decatur, Georgia product is a great all-around scorer who can knock down long balls with consistency and attack the basket with his 230 pound frame. He might be a liability defensively for the time being, but his scoring prowess will cover that for now and Coach Barbee will quickly fix that issue as well. Shaquille Johnson will add more depth on the wing. He is a better athlete than Price, and most other players for that matter. He can use his athleticism to finish around the rim and grab plenty of rebounds. Brian Green Jr. is a big, tough 6-3 point guard who will provide plenty of depth at the position. Jordan Granger is the lone newcomer up front. He needs to add some strength, but he will probably be thrown into the mix due to a lack of other options. Auburn is also expected to add junior college transfers Sharief Adamu and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum to help bolster the frontcourt.

Who to Watch:
The talent on the perimeter is pretty impressive. Frankie Sullivan was coming off of an injury last year and was never 100 percent, but still managed to average a team high 12.6 points. He also knocked down 1.9 three-pointers per game and added 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals. The senior will be the leader of this team again and now that he is healthy, Sullivan should have a huge year. Josh Wallace is not much of a scorer, but he is a decent ball handler and could take over the full-time point guard duties this year. The 5-10 junior did start 13 games last season, but the development of an offensive game would help keep him on the floor. Chris Denson can handle the ball as well. He showed plenty of potential during his freshman campaign, averaging 8.7 points per game. With him running the show, the Tigers would have a bigger lineup and another scorer on the floor. Like Sullivan, Johnson was dealing with some injuries during the 2011-2012 campaign and is now ready to make a bigger impact. At 6-6, he has the size the perimeter needs, but Johnson will spend most of his time shooting the long ball on the offensive end.

Final Projection:
The frontcourt just needs some bodies to go along with center Rob Chubb. This is a team that will likely play small much of the time. Noel Johnson, Shaquille Johnson and Jordan Price are all capable of playing at the four spot against certain opponents, so that may not be too much of a problem. It will also probably allow Coach Barbee to put his best five players on the floor when the Tigers are playing small. But that puts a lot of pressure on Chubb. The 6-10, 242 pound center has kept getting better and better during his two previous seasons with Auburn and that trend should continue this year. After averaging 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds during the 2011-2012 campaign, Chubb will need to become a stronger interior scorer and take over much of the rebounding left behind by Gabriel. Allen Payne is only 6-6, but he is the only other returning forward or center that has seen any significant playing time. In the end, Auburn will need to either play small and be quick, which does not exactly fit into Chubb’s strong points, or rely heavily on the junior college transfers. This group is getting better and more experienced, but they are not ready to compete in the SEC just yet. But they should be able to put together a winning season and get an invite from one of the less prestigious postseason tournaments.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Josh Wallace, Junior, Guard, 3.4 points per game
Chris Denson, Sophomore, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Frankie Sullivan, Junior, Guard, 12.6 points per game
Jordan Price, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Rob Chubb, Junior, Center, 8.1 points per game

Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#63 Jordan Price
#131 Shaquille Johnson