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Barbee: ‘This is a hungry bunch’

AUBURN, Ala. -- Tony Barbee’s fourth Auburn team will enter the 2013-14 season without a lot of expectations. But they’ll have plenty of motivation coming off a 9-23 season last year.

Barbee will begin his fourth season at Auburn in November/Todd Van Emst photo

“This is a hungry bunch, this is a different bunch,” Barbee said Saturday after Auburn first preseason practice. “We have guys that are competitors. We have guys that want to win at a high level. They are doing it together.

“What other people think about you, I’ve never felt that mattered. It’s what you think about yourself and what you believe about yourself and what you can accomplish. This group believes as a whole that we can accomplish something special this year.”

Three seniors will try to lead the Tigers back to respectability this year in guard Chris Denson, forward Allen Payne and center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum. They’ll have to blend together a group that includes seven newcomers and a transfer.

“All we worry about is winning and proving people wrong this year,” Denson said. “They have us picked last in the SEC and that’s motivation for everybody in the locker room.”

This morning’s workout was the first of two practices Saturday. It was held in front of a group of former players including Charles Barkley that were in town to support Barbee’s MADE Foundation golf tournament.

The foundation is helping to support the family of Korvotney Barber, the former Auburn player that drowned this summer.

“The weekend with the golf tournament, the former players being in and coming to practice, it was neat to see all those guys come out and support this current team, and that’s what it’s all about,” Barbee said. “I wanted to give them a feel of our offense of what we have been working on this summer but when we come back this afternoon, it’s for real. Toughness, defense, rebounding, all those things.

“But for the first official practice, I thought we had a decent start.”

Auburn will play the first of two exhibition games Oct. 28 against Victory University. The season begins Nov. 8 as Nicholls State visits Auburn Arena.

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