When asked what he expects out of Friday night, Barbee replied without hesitation.
“A win. Anything beyond that doesn’t matter.” Barbee said. “It’s go time now.”
The Tigers have grown together over a long season that includes playing in an exhibition tournament in the Bahamas.
The Tigers defeated the Real Deal Shockers, a Bahamian professional team, 99-63 to open their trip. Auburn closed out the tournament by defeating the Bahamas All-Stars 88-60.
Freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen was pleased with the team chemistry.
“The chemistry was really good out there, and we brought it back for our two preseason games,” Shamsid-Deen said.
The Tigers also scheduled two exhibition games in Auburn before the regular season.
Auburn defeated Victory University 109-67, with five Tigers scoring more than ten points. Senior Chris Denson led the Tigers in scoring, with 21 points.
The Tigers were led by KT Harrell and Chris Denson in its 88-60 win against Paine College. Harrell led the Tigers with 25 points, and Denson had 24 points.
Coach Barbee was pleased with the rebounding in the first game, but said that the Tigers could have grabbed some more boards in the second game. The Tigers out-rebounded Victory 51 to 33, and narrowly out-rebounded Paine College 39-36.
“It’s not the rebounding, it’s the things you have to do before you rebound, like blocking out,” Barbee said,
The Tigers are excited about the point guard position, with junior Malcolm Canada and Tahj Shamsid-Deen forming what Barbee called a “two-headed monster.”
Coach Barbee said while the two are both individually gifted, they have a great friendship that helps their on-court relationship.
“The best thing about it is that these two guys love each other.” Barbee said. “They know they need each other and they push each other in practice, but they’re best friends.”
The Tigers will look to utilize the benefits of having two point guards that can score.
Chris Denson is happy playing alongside two scoring point guards.
“We have Tahj and Malcolm and they facilitate the ball very well and make the game easier for scorers like K.T. (Harrell) and me,” Denson said.
While it seems there would be a lot of pressure for Tahj Shamsid-Deen to come in as a freshman point guard, he claims the pressure doesn’t really affect him.
“I don’t really feel any pressure.” Shamsid-Deen said. “I know where Coach Barbee wants me, and I know that whatever he’s asking that I’m capable of doing it.”
While Shamsid-Deen is only a freshman, he will be expected to perform at a high level at point guard.
Shamsid-Deen said Coach Barbee expects certain things from him.
“I want him to be the floor general, be vocal and be a true point guard,” Barbee said.
Barbee is excited about the duo’s scoring capability and offensive skills.
“It’s the ability to shoot the three-pointer from Tahj, with Malcolm slashing, driving and creating while having the ability to knock down that shot to keep you honest.”
The Tigers open up its regular season against Nicholls State. The Colonels are coming off of a 9-21 season last year, going 8-10 in the Southland Conference.
Nicholls State faced two SEC opponents last season, losing 65-80 to Vanderbilt and losing 54-74 to Missouri.
The Tigers and Colonels tip-off at 7 P.M. Friday, Nov. 8 at the Auburn Arena.