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Charles Barkley says Tony Barbee will turn Auburn around

Oct 6, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

Alabama Auburn Basketball AP

Auburn head coach Tony Barbee has Hall of Famer Charles Barkley in his corner. The former SEC Player of the Year was on hand for Auburn’s Jungle Jam on Friday night, and told the more than 7,300 in attendance that he had faith in Barbee leading the Tigers.

“Coach Barbee is going to turn this program around,” Barkley told fans on Friday night, according to Brandon Marcello of AL.com

“It’s huge because, again, I’m a big fan — obviously we’re friends — but he’s behind me all the way and that’s a good feeling,” Barbee added. “I know all the former players are. I know these students are. I know our fans are. I think this is a team that’s going to make everybody proud.”

Through three seasons at Auburn, Barbee is 35-59 (12-38 SEC). This past season was his worst, with only nine wins — down six from the previous season — and finishing last in the conference. The Tigers ended their season dropping 11 straight. In mid-March, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs issued a statement of support. Barkley is behind him now, but Barbee will need to strides this season, relying on returners Chris Denson, Allen Payne and Virginia transfer K.T. Harrell in an improved SEC.

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