Barrett Taking On Leadership Role For Tigers

Rasheem Barrett talks about taking a leadership role on the team as the Tigers travel to play George Washington.

Auburn, Ala.--Reigning SEC Player of the Week Rasheem Barrett and the Auburn men's basketball team will be looking to keep a good thing going as they travel to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to play George Washington at the Verizon Center in the BB&T Classic.

Barrett, who led the Tigers to their third consecutive win on Nov. 19th, scored 25 points in an 89-59 victory at Charleston Southern.

"In the three games we had before that I played pretty well," Barrett notes, "but not like I played at Charleston Southern. I've been practicing so hard and I've just been going at it. It's just a matter of time. When you put hard work in, pretty soon it's going to come around. Things are going to come out your way. That game, hopefully it'll start off a good thing."

Barrett was 10-13 shooting from the floor and 3-5 on three-point attempts.

"A lot of them toward the end of the game came from ball screens in our offense, coming off screens and shooting the mid-range (jumper), and some of them were slashing to the basket," Barrett says.

"It all just started on defense," he continues. "DeWayne Reed got the whole team together and ready to play. My offense just comes from defense. Whenever I can play good defense and rebound, my offense fills in for itself."

Of his SEC honor, Barrett says, "I had a flashback to my freshman year."

Barrett, a 6-5, 220-pound junior guard, is the team's second-leading scorer this season at 14 points per game. He had promising freshman season averaging 11.1 points while shooting 46 percent from the field, 39 percent on threes and 75 from the foul line.

However, all three of those percentages dropped as he slipped into a sophomore funk in 2006-2007. Barrett shot 38 percent from the field, 30 percent from long range and 67 percent on free throws.

Through four games this season, Barrett hasn't been hampered by a nagging back injury and his numbers are back up to 49 percent on field goals, 35 percent on three-point field goals and 100 percent on free throws.

"It started off with the summer I had," Barrett explains. "I believe I had a pretty good summer going over to China and playing over there and going to Cancun with my teammates and bonding. My playing time in Mexico was pretty well. I thought so for myself, and as a team player I got better as a leader. With the attitude I have in practice it's started to carry over into the game.

"I'm coming back as an experienced player on the team and I need to be able to lead my team," he continues. "When we played Alabama State I finished out with three points, but I believe I led my team being vocal and having heart. I was able to speak to them. I think this year is going to be a great year for me because of the leadership and the hard work I put in this summer."

The Tigers' game against the Colonials is set for 1:30 p.m. CST on Dec. 2 and there will be television coverage on FSN.

"I feel like it's a great experience," Barrett says. "Of all of the places I've been I've never been up north to Washington, D.C. It's going to be cold--hopefully not as cold as my freshman year at Pittsburgh. I know it's going to be cold so I'll pack a big jacket. I'm looking forward to it. It's a new experience and something I can tell my kids and my grandkids and my father when I get back."

Basketball Notes: Freshman center Boubacar Sylla is not expected to play vs. George Washington due to a nagging ankle injury...Junior forward Josh Dollard, who is taking a medical redshirt year, suffered an MCL injury and will not be able to practice for several weeks...Sunday's game will be just the second time Auburn has played George Washington in basketball. The Colonials won 71-60 in 1979 in a tournament at Columbia, Mo...Junior forward Korvotney Barber leads Auburn in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (8.0) through four games...Rob Diggs, a 6-8, 187 junior forward leads GW in scoring at 16.0 points per game. His team is 2-2 with losses to No. 1 UCA 83-60 and Maryland-Baltimore County 83-79.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories