Heading into his senior season, much will be expected of Auburn big-man Cinmeon Bowers.
Listed at 6-foot-7, 278 pounds last season, Bowers is transforming his body to prepare for an even bigger workload this coming year.
Speaking on Monday's SEC coaches teleconference, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Bowers has lost a good amount of weight.
"The fact that he's lost 20-25 pounds and reshaped his body just speaks to his discipline, his commitment," Pearl said. "He's changed the way he eats, he's changed the way he sleeps and the way he trains. Just making progress and maturing. As a result, he'll be quicker. He got tired at the end of last season because he had to carry us so much."
Asked if he likes that Bowers is a center who sometimes has a point guard mentality, Pearl said he doesn't mind it as long as Bowers is taking care of the ball.
"We'd like him to be more productive with finishing plays, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of things that he does do that I like," Pearl said. "In other words, when he's able to get a rebound and push it, he's got other guys around him that can make plays. As long as he does so without turning it over and finishes at a higher percentage, I think he'll still be doing some of that. Much to the chagrin of my fanbase and obviously some writers."
Last season, Bowers was third on the team with 12.1 points per game and grabbed a team-high 9.6 rebounds while playing 30 minutes a night.
While reshaping his body is a big step toward improving, Pearl listed three more keys for Bowers to take his game to an even higher level. He shot 47.8 percent (99-of-207) from the free throw line and committed 2.5 turnovers per game, which tied for the team lead.
"I still think he's going to be a powerful player, and he's still an inside out player," Pearl said. "He needs to improve his defense, his free throw shooting and his ability to finish plays productively. If he does those three things and keeps all the good things that he does, and he's potentially an all-conference type player."
Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.