Harrell Happy To Be Back On The Court

Junior shooting guard K.T. Harrell is expected to play a big role for the Tigers this season after sitting out last year following a transfer from Virginia.

Auburn, Ala.—One of the top basketball prospects in the country coming out of Brewbaker Tech in Montgomery three years ago, shooting guard K.T. Harrell chose the Virginia Cavaliers after being named the 2010 Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year. Following two seasons playing in the ACC, Harrell transferred to Auburn last year and watched as the Tigers struggled to just nine wins and three victories in the SEC.

Now ready to do his part to help turn the program around, Harrell says that he's excited about the way things are going this summer both for himself and the team. With plenty of new talent infused on the roster and the chance to play as a team in The Bahamas before fall classes begin, Harrell notes that things are looking up for Tony Barbee's Tigers.

"The summer is going good," Harrell says. "Everybody has been working really hard. There has been a lot of improvement since last year. A lot of the young guys are working hard. We're really excited about this Bahamas trip.

"It's a great feeling for me," he adds about finally getting back on the court preparing to play in games. "I have been working hard this past year. It was tough watching the guys play and not being able to be out there, but it has been a good year to get better individually and as a team we have gotten better."

Known as a scorer in high school, averaging 27.8 points as a senior, Harrell averaged eight points per game as a freshman at Virginia and 4.7 points in 11 games as a sophomore before transferring. With Frankie Sullivan gone the pressure could easily shift to Harrell to be the go-to guy for the Auburn offense. While he understands that's just part of being a veteran, Harrell says he's just going into things with the attitude to do whatever it takes to win.

"The pressure is going to be there, but at the end of the day it's a game," Harrell says. "It's a game that I love. The pressure goes away when you step on the floor. It's something I love to do. I don't really think about pressure. I just go out there and play and try to win. Whatever happens, happens."

While Harrell may try to deflect some of the attention that is sure to come his way, Barbee definitely feels like he's found a guy to pick up the scoring slack in the program. Needing to find a consistent scorer since he arrived on campus, Barbee says Harrell has everything they're looking for in a leader.

"K.T. is a talented player," Barbee says. "As skilled as he is, I think his most important skill is how steady he is. He's never on a rollercoaster. You know what you're getting from K.T. every single day, his absolute best. You can never tell if he's having a good day or a bad day because when he steps on the floor he's there to work and get better.

"He leads by example although he's a vocal leader. He's the ultimate competitor. He hates losing. On top of that he's a very talented offensive player. He's a guy we're going to be counting on for a lot of scoring production this year."

In addition to practicing and trying to help the team win games last season, Harrell also got the opportunity to learn more about Barbee and the coaching staff and what they're looking for out of their players. Seeing how last season's team self-destructed down the stretch, the physical guard says that it's the job of the leaders of this year's team to make sure that doesn't happen again and that starts now.

"The chemistry wasn't there," Harrell says of last season. "I think that played a big role in it. Everybody wasn't bought into it, but I think this year we've got a group of guys who are committed to winning and we all get along with each other. The chemistry is there and that's important. We've got a group of guys who are competitive and want to win."

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