Auburn Basketball Concludes Practice
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Rasheem Barrett
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Rasheem Barrett
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Aug. 7, 2007

AUBURN - Auburn basketball concluded 10-straight days of practice Tuesday in preparation for its three-game, six-day basketball tour of Cancun, Mexico, Wednesday through Monday. NCAA rules allow only Auburn"s returning players to make the trip.

"We have had a good 10 days of practice," said head coach Jeff Lebo. "It has been interesting because we haven"t had a day off. We have lower numbers so they haven"t had a break. I thought today"s practice was pretty good and was competitive.

"The thing that I have noticed this year more than anything is that everything has been pretty competitive which has made the juices flow. The kids want to win in every drill. They are getting after each other pretty good so that makes us all get better in practice. I thnk they are ready after 10 days to see someone else. We got a lot done, and it will be interesting to see how we play against other faces down in Mexico."

Auburn will play three games against teams in the Mexican Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional beginning Thursday vs. Quintana Roo Pioneros followed by Selection Quintana Roo Friday and a second game vs. Quintana Roo Pioneros Saturday. All three games begin at 7 pm Central.

The Pioneros played Team Mexico, which is coached by former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, July 27-29 as part of Team Mexico"s training for the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas Aug. 22-Sept. 2. The tournament qualifies two teams for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Pioneers open their Mexican Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional schedule Sept. 6. Playing for the Pioneros will be local stars Cesar Campos and Mauricio Ramos along with Tomas Rios, Oswaldo Guzman, Miguel Ojeda and Enrique Baños.

The Tigers leave Auburn at 3:45 am Wednesday before flying from Atlanta to Cancun. The team will practice later that afternoon.

"Everybody has been going good, but we are a little tired after practicing for 10 straight days," said junior Korvotney Barber. "We have progressed from last year and are looking forward to going to Cancun. It is going to be a lot of fun, and we are ready to work hard down there and play well. It will be good to see how much we have improved since last season.

"We have been doing well in practice, and it will be interesting to see how we play once game-time comes. Everybody is a lot stronger, more mature and is making better decisions than last year. It will be good to go to Cancun."

The Tigers will tour the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, 82 miles south of Cancun, Thursday morning. Tulum is one of the most beautiful cities of the Mayan culture with the most spectacular view of the Mexican Caribbean. The city of Tulum is the only known archeological site located by the sea and was constructed at the top of a cliff facing the blue sea and has the world"s second-largest coral reef.

The following two-and-a-half days in Mexico are only basketball for the Tigers as they play their games against the country"s professional teams. The team will close out its trip with a tour of Isla Mujeres, a small, calm island located to the north of Cancun on Sunday. Isla Mujeres combines the beauty of the Caribbean, the dense tropical jungle and the wonderful heritage of the Maya civilization. It stands out as one of Mexico"s natural treasures.

This is the fourth foreign tour Auburn has experienced, going to Spain in 2001; France, Germany and The Netherlands in 1997; and Israel in 1973.