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7-foot-2 Trayvon Reed gives boost to Auburn basketball
Dec. 12, 2014

Bruce Pearl's roster will be deeper on Sunday

By Charles Goldberg

 Help is on the way for the Auburn basketball team in the form of a 7-foot-2 center who is now eligible, a player returning from last year's team and the likelihood the nation's leading returning scorer is healthy enough to play again.

Coach Bruce Pearl will try to mix and match the new with the old at Clemson on Sunday.

"The impact…is all to be determined," Pearl said.

No matter, the addition of 7-foot-2, 230-pound center Trayvon Reed, the return of Alex Thompson from last year's team and the prospect that Antoine Mason is returning from an ankle injury increases Pearl's available scholarship players from a razor-thin eight to 11.

"Because of the injuries and being down to eight scholarship players, it made practices tough," Pearl said. "We did not have a lot to go up against. I was limited in how much contact we could have for fear of losing guys in practice. "

The addition of Reed and 6-foot-8 Thompson gives the Tigers more of an inside game, and more options for the 3-4 Tigers who have trouble finding a consistent scorer to play with KT Harrell.

"We have a couple of guys with a little bit of size and a little bit of length, so I think it’s going to be good from a practice standpoint. Now will 11 scholarship players, we’re not as far behind the 8 ball," Pearl said.

Reed, is from Montgomery, played his senior season in New Jersey where he averaged 12.5 points, 9.5 and 6.5 blocks a game. He spent last season at the Elev8 Academy in Delray Beach, Fla. He originally signed with Maryland.

Thompson earned a scholarship last season, but didn't start this season with the team because of "personal reasons," Pearl said.

"He is back and we’re glad that he’s back and looking forward to getting him going."

Pearl said Reed will start his Auburn career on the bench.

"If he played, what we’d do is we’d have to give him a limited play call. You don’t want to put those players in position to fail. He would have to understand how to handle pressure, he’d have to understand how to handle man, how to handle zone, under basket out of bounds, side out – it would be a lot to ask. I would not expect him to play a major role in the game Sunday," Pearl said.

Reed's first practice is Saturday. Pearl said he'll be happy to see him in person.

"I have watched tape, and that's it," Pearl said. "I've only seen him on tape. I don't know what all he can do. I do know he runs the floor, I know he can block shots and he'll be a bit of a rim protector, which is something we don't have. Clearly, he fills the need. It's a lot to ask after he's been out for quite some time. But you talk about having to go play on the road at Clemson, if that's going to be the first time he gets any time at all." 

Mason may provide more an instant impact.

"As soon as he is back and healthy and in a position where his performance warrants starting, he'll be out there," Pearl said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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