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Basketball Media Days: Auburn Coach Tony Barbee

Auburn coach Tony Barbee answers questions at the SEC Basketball Media Days In Hoover, Alabama.

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Auburn’s Barbee Says Johnson’s Dismissal Was Due To “A Pattern Of Behavior”

gfx - they said itFifteen days ago, Auburn guard Shaq Johnson was arrested and charged with second degree possession of marijuana.  Fourteen days ago he was dismissed from coach Tony Barbee’s team.  But Barbee says Johnson’s heave-ho wasn’t tied to just the one incident:


“It wasn’t a single incident.  It was kind of a pattern of behavior.  Unfortunately, he continued to make the wrong decisions, and it was getting to a point where it was affecting the entire team, the entire program, so it was time to cut the cord…

It’s like I tell all my guys — life is about decision making.  If you continue to make the wrong decisions in this program, you’re letting everybody know you can’t be a part of it anymore.”


Kudos to Barbee for dismissing Johnson.  Entering his fourth year on the Plains, Barbee is likely facing a make or break year as Auburn’s coach.  Johnston started 21 of 32 games for the Tigers last year.  There are a lot of coaches who — if in Barbee’s position — would have looked the other way in order to keep a starter on the team for an important season.

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WOW Headlines – 2/20/13

Wednesday’s SEC basketball:
South Carolina 63, Ole Miss 62…Alabama 64, Mississippi State 56…
Texas A&M 65, Auburn 56…Kentucky 74, Vanderbilt 70
Florida F Damontre Harris has been arrested for failing to appear in court after being cited for driving without a license earlier this year
Eight of the SEC’s 14 basketball teams are averaging fewer than 70 points per game
New LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will receive a three-year contract that will top out at $1.5 million by 2015
Follow the SEC all year long on and

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AU’s Barbee Sounds Off On Team, Lack Of Leadership

gfx - they said itThe Auburn basketball season is falling apart.  Tony Barbee wants to make sure his team doesn’t fall apart as well.

The Tigers have dropped six games in a row after a 2-0 SEC start to find themselves at the bottom of the league standings alongside Mississippi State.  Their next four games are Alabama, a road date at Kentucky, Arkansas, and then Florida.  Staring a possible 2-10 SEC mark dead in the face, Barbee opened up on and about his squad yesterday:


“Each team’s got a hold of the rope and right now we’re the team letting go.  I’m not going to let us let go…

(Asked about his team’s troubles) It’s a laundry list.  How much time you got?  It’s a long list.  It’s about everything.  Our defense, our offense… special teams (he said with a smile)…

When I watch the tape, I told the guys I’m embarrassed to say I coach this team, and the majority of it is on me.  My fault.  I told them, ‘I’m going to do my job to change it and I need you guys to do your job and change, because it hasn’t been good enough.’”


While willing to accept some of the blame, Barbee also took the time to skewer his seniors:


“I’ve been as disappointed in our leadership since I’ve been here, and I’ve said that we haven’t had any since I’ve been here.  The coaches have been the leaders, and when the coaches are the leaders of the team as you’re going through the hard times, your team’s not going to be very good.  When the team takes the ownership, then you’ve got a chance.

I was fooled into thinking that this senior group, this veteran group had got it.  They hadn’t.  They slipped right back into their old habits — losing habits.  So I’ve got to change them.”


Aside from words, Barbee also hit his team with a 6am practice session yesterday morning.  Whether intense morning work and some harsh words can get Auburn back on the winning path remains to be seen.

In his third season trying to rebuild the Tiger program, Barbee is 34-47, has never had a winning record, and has never won more than five SEC games in a season.  Translation: He’s not the only person on the Plains whose patience is wearing thin.

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SEC Basketball Media Day – Coaches Roundup



SEC Headlines – 4th of July, 2012 Edition

Happy Independence Day!  Here’s hoping you have a fun and safe 4th of July.

First, as a long-time lover of Boston, let me just act as travel tipster and say that Revolution history buffs simply have to visit that city at some point in their lives.  (For that matter, Independence Hall in Philadelphia will give you chills and Charleston, South Carolina has the feel of another era, as well… but Boston is filled to the top of its beanpot with Revolutionary War history.)

Second, here are just a few headlines for you on this holiday:


1.  The playoff selection committee could become football’s new power brokers.

2. Uh, so like Alabama is supposed to take Western Kentucky seriously?

3.  Auburn hoops coach Tony Barbee says “The players we brought in are better than the players that left.”  (Snap.)

4.  Would Arkansas AD Jeff Long consider bringing Bobby Petrino back?

5.  So maybe this is why John L. Smith dumped his alma mater, Weber State, and ran back to take an interim gig in Fayetteville — he’s facing bankruptcy. 

6.  Ole Miss’ big man Murphy Holloway tried to turn heads at the Amare Stoudemire Skills Academy.

7.  After sending out a fan survey, UM officials are making changes at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

8.  Athlon predicts a six-win season for Mississippi State, but this writer “can see MSU winning eight games in the regular season without terrible difficulty.”

9.  Kevin Sumlin hasn’t coached a game at Texas A&M, but this scribe says Eric Hyman’s arrival as AD puts him on the clock.  (Technically, don’t all coaches go onto the hot seat about as soon as they’re hired these days?)

10.  A few Florida freshman will likely get some early playing time this fall.

11.  Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree is one of the SEC’s best.

12.  The past 12 months weren’t a banner year for Tennessee athletics.

13.  Kevin Stallings is shaking up his coaching staff at Vanderbilt.

14.  This writer thinks Missouri basketball is primed for quick success in the SEC.


Have a good holiday everyone.

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UVA Guard Transferring To Auburn

Earlier this month, two Auburn Tigers decided to transfer from the Plains.  Today, a new player — and a good one at that — is planning to fill one of the open slots left in Tony Barbee’s program.

Former Virginia guard KT Harrell has transferred to Auburn, where he will have to sit out one season before joining the AU team for the 2013-14 season.

Harrell is an Alabama native and was actually a Top 30 player in America (four stars) according to when he came out of high school.  He played two seasons with Virginia and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

According to Harrell’s father, Auburn’s style of play was a big factor in his son’s decision to transfer to the school.  “The style of play that Tony Barbee wants is exactly what we want, that dribble-drive offense, and it’s going to work out great for everyone.”

Harrell started 15 games for the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season and played in all 31 contests averaging eight points and two rebounds per game.  He played in just 11 games this past season.

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SEC Headlines – 3/20/12

1.  With a BCS title under his belt, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron enters his second season as a starter with confidence.

2.  Ivory Coast natives and Auburn forwards Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena have been cleared by Tony Barbee to transfer.  (“… sometimes things don’t fit, and I am disappointed they they felt that this wasn’t the right fit for them.”)

3.  Defensive back Craig Loston is ready to prove his worth at LSU.

4.  Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin — now searching for a head basketball coach — was very much involved in the search that landed Dan Mullen.  (That’s the word of Stricklin’s former boss, Arizona AD Greg Byrne.)

5.  The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton is on the list for MSU and for Nebraska.

6.  Wisely, Ole Miss continues its contract extension talks with Andy Kennedy.  (The coach hasn’t made an NCAA tourney yet, but he’s won 20 games five or more times with the worst facilities and hoops budget in the SEC.  Gotta wonder how much the departures of Houston Nutt and Pete Boone have aided his status, though.  He was not extended after last season.)

7.  Florida’s cornerback Marcus Roberson is back at practice after what was nearly a career-ending neck injury last fall.

8.  The Gators’ defense has been a key to the team’s Sweet Sixteen run.

9.  Georgia QB Aaron Murray is glad the hot-seat talk that fueled a “stressful” season last year is history.

10.  There are plenty of question marks as the Dawgs open spring practice today.

11.  Another day, another National Player of the Year trophy for Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.

12.  The Cats should have a slick, new locker room at Rupp Arena next year thanks to a $2.9 million renovation project kickstarted by John Calipari.

13.  Connor Shaw is settling in as South Carolina’s quarterback this spring.

14.  Steve Spurrier — who’s appeared topless on camera more times than Heather Graham — believes Bruce Ellington will decide his football future by the end of the week.

15.  Vandy is looking for more forward progress this spring.

16.  This writer thinks the SEC could be headed to a $5 billion payday with renegotiated ESPN and CBS deals. 

17.  It’s rather silly that more college football programs don’t open their practices to fans.

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SEC Headlines – 3/8/12 Part One

1.  Alabama’s basketball team has been on a roller-coaster of emotions this season.  (Beats being trapped in a glass case of emotion.)

2.  Anthony Grant wants to see some postseason passion from his squad.  (Hong Kong, Tokyo… passion.)

3.  Auburn is feeling pretty good heading into the SEC tourney.

4.  Tony Barbee talks about his team’s progress in Year Two.

5.  Arkansas wants to avoid another “quick trip” to the SEC Tournament.

6.  Julysses Nobles expects to play on a sore ankle today.

7.  Joe Dean of LSU and Joe B. Hall of Kentucky will go into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in the same class.  (The voters played a little stufferino with their nominations.)

8.  LSU needs to beat Arkansas today to help its postseason chances.

9.  Could Tiger running back Spencer Ware become Tiger receiver Spencer Ware?

10.  Freshman Jarvis Summers has emerged as a leader for Ole Miss.

11.  The Rebels are on a mini-roll heading to New Orleans.  (It’s easier to take a bus.)

12.  Naturally, the SEC’s coaches talked up Mississippi State on the eve of the tourney.  (What are they supposed to say about a rival team?)

13.  The last time State played Georgia — and lost — UGA was red hot from 3-point land.

14.  Kevin Sumlin is giving Texas A&M football an energy boost.

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SEC Headlines – 2/8/12 Part One

1.  After a flurry of technical fouls, Alabama knocked out Auburn.

2.  Anthony Grant probably won’t be happy with some of his players for calling out Auburn fans and players on Twitter after the win. 

3.  Tony Barbee says his Tiger team got “out-toughed.”

4.  Undefeated at home, Arkansas heads to Georgia looking for its first win away from Bud Walton Arena in 348 days.

5.  LSU goes on the road to Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym tonight.

6.  MSU fans have chosen their program’s Team of the Century (from State’s first 100 years of basketball… it’d still be a bit soon to for the team of the 2000s.)

7.  Ole Miss needs to keep hitting the boards when the Rebels travel to Starkville on Thursday.

8.  Terrance Henry says he’s got the back of UM’s Nick Williams, the Reb’s top trash-talker.”

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