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March 12, 2008

Jeff Lebo

Quan Prowell

Frank Tolbert


THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Lebo for some opening comments on the Auburn team headed into the tournament and then we'll take questions for the players.
COACH LEBO: We're certainly very excited about playing here in Atlanta in the tournament. Tournaments are a lot of fun for the players and exciting for the fans. We've got a very tough test in Vanderbilt here tomorrow, so our kids are looking forward to playing.

Q. Quan, there's a lot of really good transfers in the league, including yourself, and I'm talking about guys from four-year schools. Just talk about your transfer situation, how it's worked out for you, and have you noticed all the other good transfers in the league who are doing well?
QUAN PROWELL: Well, as far as me, my transfer was a pretty big jump. It was similar to like a JuCo jump, but just coming from a smaller D1 school to the SEC was big for me. I love it, the competition every night. Every game, there's a good player on every team who can really score, and they've got a good team, chemistry and everything. You know you're not going to just go out and play with any team in the SEC. You've got to bring your "A" game, and it's been great. I really don't know anybody else that's transferred.

Q. Have you noticed guys like Devan Downey, Tyler Smith?
QUAN PROWELL: Yeah, they're having a tremendous year. Especially Tyler Smith down in Tennessee, he's doing really good. Devan Downey, who we recently played, he's doing real good, too. There's a lot of good transfers in the league.

Q. When you guys played Ole Miss both times this year, a lot was made about match-up advantages for the athletic Auburn team. Do you guys look at it that way? Do you see your athleticism as an advantage when you play teams that have bigger, bulkier guys in the post?
QUAN PROWELL: I think the advantage, it goes both ways. When they're bigger, they have the advantage to go inside on us, and if they don't take advantage of that, then we have our advantage with our quickness and athleticism. Whichever advantage works best is the team that comes out on top.

Q. Frank, do you guys feel as if you have a second chance to make a first impression now that the tournament has started?
FRANK TOLBERT: I think we do. Even though we haven't got a lot of wins in the SEC, we played a lot of teams close, so I feel if we come out and play our "A" game that we can come in and shock a lot of people.

Q. You're both seniors on the team, and the last ten games, Frank, you're averaging nearly 18 points, and Quan, since January 26 you've been doing the same. Is there a sense of urgency for you guys because you're seniors? Is it something you guys talk about?
QUAN PROWELL: I think it's become clear to us that there isn't a next year, so the last few games you want to go out with a bang. You just don't want to coast it out. You know, it's been tough for us having the season we've been having, but our group of guys, you know, they still have their high and we're ready to play, just bringing our "A" game to this tournament and expecting the "A" game from all the rest of the team. We're just ready to play.
FRANK TOLBERT: Yeah, I think the same thing Quan said. It's coming to an end, and it got here so fast that it's just you want to play your best ball and just leave it all out on the floor every night because you know for us there's no next year. So we just are trying to do what we can for right now, just trying to win some games.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse you, players. You can head to the locker room. Questions for Coach?

Q. Talk a little bit about when you look at the conference schedule what you guys did? Was this Vandy game one of those shoulda, coulda, woulda games? Does that provide a little bit of extra motivation?
COACH LEBO: Our first Vandy game? I don't know if it was woulda, coulda, shoulda. We played at the end of the game with I think about two minutes to go, it was a six-point game. Our first half we did not play particularly well. Second half we made shots, and Frank Tolbert was unbelievable. He had 32 points in that game.
That half was the way we have to play. We have to shoot the ball well. We haven't had many games where we've put two halves together. For whatever reason, I don't know, maybe it's fatigue, maybe it's lack of depth, it's hard to do, but I think our kids had confidence going into that game. It's a very tough place to play. They're 19 and 0 at home. When we went in there, obviously we were still undefeated, but they jumped on us pretty good in the first half and we just had to fight and claw to get back into the game.

Q. Ole Miss at 7 and 9 at least has a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament because they played well non-conference. Going forward is that something you think about is setting up your non-conference schedule so it could potentially --
COACH LEBO: Every coach does that. You just don't know who's going to be -- a lot of times you don't know who's going to be good and who's not going to be good. We played George Washington this year, for instance. I think they were the best team in the A10 over the past five years, and they didn't have a particularly good year, so that hurt us a little bit.
In years past we brought Texas A&M in, we brought Pitt into our place, we've played those type of people. You've got to beat them to get your RPI up, not just play them. You've got to beat a couple of those teams, too. I think every coach looks to set his schedule up -- I think you've got to schedule for your team. We also had Xavier come in. I don't know where they are, close to top ten in the country right now. I think everybody does that.

Q. Do you pay attention to stats as far as you guys are 6 and 1 against Vandy in the SEC Tournament over the years?
COACH LEBO: Not really. I don't really look at that. I know we played them three out of our last four years, but we don't really discuss that or talk about it. I don't really look at it myself.
The kids don't know it. Some of those -- if it doesn't involve the kids, they don't know it, all right? We don't really pay much attention to it, no.

Q. I was just going to ask you about what you just said, playing Vanderbilt three of the last four years in the first round. Does that change the familiarity with you guys playing here and playing them three out of four? What's the dynamic?
COACH LEBO: I don't put too much into it. It's a tough draw for us. I think they're just a terrific team, well-coached. The one thing that they haven't played as well away from home. They're still very, very good, but they're special in their place. I think the one positive for us, at least we're not playing them there.

Q. If you could just talk about the player or two players that you think has made the biggest strides from the beginning of the season to this point.
COACH LEBO: I think Quan Prowell has made strides being a consistent kind of player for us in the league. I think he's made -- been solid and for the most part pretty consistent, to know what you're going to get every night. I think that's been an adjustment for him.
I really think Frank, too. Those two guys have had the most adjustments to make because they're playing completely out of position. And to do what they've done coming down the stretch, they're leading us in scoring, they're leading us in shooting at the power forward position at 6'2", and Quan is 6'7", 6'8"at the center position. I think those two guys considering what we've been through have had to change the most and been the most consistent and have been good with that change and have sacrificed probably the most because they're the two guys that are probably -- more than the other ones are playing out of position and have had to change the identity of their game in their senior year to fit what we're doing. So I think those two guys would be the two I'd pick.

Q. The game that Frank played in Nashville, the 32 points, was that a snapshot of his game that he can play or do you consider one of those things that --
COACH LEBO: No, he can do that. He's had big games before. I think the thing with Frank over the course of his career is being consistent. If he can make shots from the perimeter with his athleticism and being able to take the ball to the basket, he makes a very difficult match-up for people, and he shot the ball very well at Vanderbilt from the perimeter and really got it going.
When he does that, he really makes our team very, very difficult to defend. If we have he and Quan doing it, again, they're at the bigger spots with bigger guys on them traditionally, it makes us an odd team to have to defend. I think the big thing with Frank is can he shoot it consistently night in and night out, and when he does, he's pretty dog-gone good because of his athleticism taking the ball to the basket.

Q. Can you please talk about as a coach how you motivate your team being an under dog, us against the world type of mentality?
COACH LEBO: I think our kids know that. I think you're motivated here at tournament time. You win, you move on; you lose, you go home. Our kids know that. Hopefully we'll play loose. We've been the under dog most of the time we've stepped out on the floor, so that's something that's not new to us.
I think the biggest thing at tournament time is being able to play loose, being able to play where you're not afraid to make mistakes, where you're not worried about if you lose -- on your bubble, all that kind of stuff. You've got to take that stuff completely out of your mind and you've got to play. There's a lot of teams at tournament time that will play tight. Obviously we don't want to do that. We want to be able to play loose and be confident when we go out on that court.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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