The Tigers will take on Kentucky this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena, which would have been Barber's homecourt if he had chosen the Wildcats over the Tigers. Instead, the high school All-American from Manchester, Ga., became Coach Jeff Lebo's first high-profile signee at Auburn.
"Vot has really improved," Lebo says. "He has gotten bigger and stronger. He is catching the ball a little bit better. When you come to this level the contact...what they call in high school obviously they don't call here. He had an adjustment period there. I think we have put him in a little bit better situation to be successful.
"He is shooting a high percentage from the field," Lebo notes. "He has done a good job of getting to the glass. He has one, two, three bounces in him around the offensive glass. His hands have gotten a little bit better at catching some balls in there. Where he really needs to improve is his free throw shooting. He has really struggled from there."
Barber is averaging 13.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and leads the Tigers in blocked shots with 40, close to half of the team's total of 83.
Barber is making 63.9 percent of his field goals, which is seventh nationally, but he is really struggling at the foul line where he is hitting just 44.6 percent.
"He has scored a lot more points (215) already this year than he did all of last year (190)," Lebo notes. "He has been a factor for us defensively with his athleticisim, too, in the shot block category, so he has been a work in progress.
An improved shooting touch has helped Barber become a much bigger threat on the offensive end of the court.
"When he came in as a McDonald's All-American his skill level was far behind, but his attitude has been terrific and he has worked hard in the offseason. That seems to be paying dividends for him.
"He still has a long way to go, but his attitude, knowing how hard he works every day, has really given him some success this year.," Lebo adds. "Hopefully, that will continue."
Auburn and Kentucky will play at 7 p.m. CST as the Wildcats look for their ninth straight victory. UK is 12-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference. Auburn is 1-0 in the conference and 11-5 overall.