Barbee wants Denson, who leads the SEC averaging 21.3 points per game, to step up his play on the defensive end of the floor.
“He is one of those guys that is focused so much on offense, he has let his defense slip,” Barbee said. “I told him he should never think for one second about the offensive end of the floor; It’s going to happen because of the type of player he is.
“Every thought he has on the floor, on the bench, in the locker room, during time outs should be solely on defense because he can make us that much better because he has the ability to be one of the best defenders we have.”
Denson, who is second on the team with 19 rebounds and 10 assists, and also has three steals, has gotten Barbee’s message.
“It is not so much on the ball stuff as off the ball stuff like my help defense needs a lot of work,” Denson said. “Watching film with Coach Barbee and the other coaches are showing me where to improve.”
The Tigers, off to a 2-1 start, host Murray State at the Auburn Arena Saturday night. The Racers are 2-2, with close losses to Valparaiso and Ole Dominion.
Murray State, which beat Auburn 79-59 last season, is led by senior guard Dexter Fields, who is averaging 15.8 points per game.
“It’s just the next game on the schedule, that’s how we look at it,” Barbee said. “Every one of them is an opportunity to get better and prove something to ourselves.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.
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