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July 21, 2013

Former Auburn hoops star Korvotney Barber found dead after apparent drowning in Panama City Beach

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

Former Auburn basketball star Korvotney Barber was found dead from an apparent drowning on Sunday in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Auburn Basketball

The body of former Auburn basketball player Korvotney Barber was discovered Sunday evening after an apparent drowning off Panama City Beach, Fla. He played for the Tigers from 2005-09.

Cpl. Jason Gleason of the Panama City Beach (Fla.) Police Department confirmed Barber’s body was found between the Boardwalk Beach Condominiums and the nearby Top of the Gulf Condominiums by a passing civilian at 4:49 p.m. (ET), seconds after he washed ashore.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the devastatingly tragic and untimely death of Korvotney Barber,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in an official university release Sunday. “The Auburn Family remembers ‘Vot’ as a relentless competitor with the heart of a champion. More importantly, those who knew him best remember him as a caring father who deeply loved his children and his family. Korvotney’s family and friends will remain in our thoughts and prayers during this profoundly sad time.”

According to police, Barber went missing at approximately 7:09 p.m. Saturday after going into the water with his wife and another friend, despite the beach being under double red flag conditions. Double red flags are posted to signal that the beach is closed and the public is forbidden to enter the water due to strong rip tides.

Thirty minutes after he was first reported missing Saturday, a search party consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Wildlife Commission and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office helicopter set out to look for Barber. Gleason said the helicopter had to be grounded later due to inclement weather in the area.

The 26-year-old Manchester native starred at Manchester High School, earning numerous honors during his senior campaign in 2004-05, when he posted averages of 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks per game. That season, he led Manchester to a 22-4 overall record and a Class AA Sweet 16 appearance en route to garnering the Gatorade Player of the Year for Georgia and being selected as a McDonald’s All-American. Barber was also a member of the Georgia Blazers, a Columbus-based AAU team.

At Auburn, Barber averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds during his four-year career under former coach Jeff Lebo. His senior season in 2008-09 nearly saw him average a double-double, tallying 12.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

“The Auburn basketball program is deeply saddened to lose one its great players in Korvotney ‘Vot’ Barber,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said in a statement. “I was fortunate enough to meet ‘Vot’ just last week when he stopped by my office to introduce himself to me. What an impressive guy. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones.”

Barber went overseas after graduating from Auburn, playing for the Lugano Tigers, a team based in Switzerland. The Tigers finished with a 16-9 overall record this past season, good enough for second in the Swiss League’s Division A, the more prestigious of the league’s two divisions. Barber was the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game and tied for the team-high in rebounds, grabbing 7.4 per contest.

Barber’s final game came against the Geneve Lions on May 31, which happened to be the deciding contest of the Swiss League’s best-of-five championship series.

In that game, Barber scored 10 points and collected six rebounds.

February 15, 2013

Auburn notes: No. 7 Florida brings consistency to the matchup; high school coach welcomed to football support staff

Arkansas Auburn BasketballAUBURN, Ala. – Florida has risen to the No. 7 ranking in the country and the unquestioned leader of the SEC pack, simply due to consistency on both ends of the floor.

The Gators’ host on Saturday is still searching for steadiness, unable to string any kind of momentum together during this aging conference season. Florida and Auburn will tip off at 1:47 p.m. ET, with SEC Network carrying the action from Auburn Arena.

The Tigers’ most consistent scorer has been junior guard Chris Denson, and that says a lot considering the Shaw product has only played 13 games due to academic suspension and injury.

Denson is shooting 49 percent from the floor, averaging 12.2 points – and that includes two games where he only totaled one free throw as he shook off the rust from a stress fracture in his foot.

Even Denson’s minutes have been consistent, logging between 25 and 29 minutes in each of his past six games even while he bounces back and forth between a starting and reserve role. During the stretch, he’s averaged 13.7 points to lead the Tigers through a disappointing few weeks.

Leading scorer Frankie Sullivan saw his permanent starting spot slip away Wednesday vs. Arkansas, as he’s failed to score more than 14 since Jan. 16.

Head coach Tony Barbee benched his only two experienced big men – Rob Chubb and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum – for the final 10 minutes of Wednesday’s loss to the Razorbacks, going with rookie Jordon Granger in crunch time. He hasn’t ruled out changes to the lineup.

Meanwhile, Florida (20-3, 10-1) keeps churning along toward an SEC regular season title, with each starter averaging between nine and 13 points this year. It’s an experienced lineup of just juniors and seniors, guided by senior guard Kenny Boynton (12.9 points, 3.3 assists) and senior forward Erik Murphy, who makes 49 percent of his threes.

Billy Donovan’s squad ranks fourth in the nation defensively, allowing just 52.7 points per game.

Historically, Auburn does lead the all-time series 87-72, including 54-23 in Auburn. However, the Gators have won four straight in the matchup, and 14 of 15 going back to 1999. Barbee has never beaten Florida.

Front-office move: Spain Park High School coach Chip Lindsey will accept a position on the Auburn football team’s support staff, according to multiple reports. Lindsey will not be an Auburn coach.

Lindsey had coached Spain Park the past two seasons, and is expected to assist with recruiting efforts.