July 22, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Lucas Hargrove will see his old Auburn basketball teammates soon, but he wishes it wasn't so, not when it to say goodbye to a good friend.
Hargrove was still trying to accept the death of Korvotney Barber on Monday, a day after the former Auburn player's body was found in the waters off Panama City Beach. Barber played at Auburn from 2005-09 and made many friends among his teammates.
"I think the plan is for everybody to meet at the service," Hargrove said.
Services for Barber will be 2 p.m. Eastern Saturday at his high school gymnasium in Manchester, Ga.
It was a sad Monday for Hargrove, who drove to see Barber's mother during the afternoon.
"This is a very terrible loss. He was a brother to me," Hargrove said. "I have great feelings for him. I saw him every day for 3½ years and that continued after both us left Auburn. Just days ago we had dinner together, he and his fiancee and me and my wife and we were just enjoying each other's company. It's just shocking something would happen to somebody so full of spirit, so full of life."
Barber leaves behind a daughter and son.
"He was always a great father, and he was a great son, too," Hargrove said. "As far as his close friends and teammates, he was somebody to lean on. You could talk to him about anything. He was a very positive person. He always brought smiles to everybody."
Hargrove and Barber both played in Europe, and sometimes their paths would happily cross.
"He enjoyed playing there a lot," Hargrove said. "He always enjoyed going to new places. When we were in college, he enjoyed traveling and meeting to new people."
Playing professional basketball made sense to Barber.
"Anything he could do for the betterment of his family, to provide for his family, he was always for it," Hargrove said.
Tay Waller played with Barber at Manchester High in Georgia and said he's the reason Auburn gave him a scholarship, too.
"Vot is the only person to have his jersey retired at Manchester High and that's the way it should stay!" Waller wrote on his Facebook page. "Dude was a funny, humble, down to earth person.
Waller said he found it hard to believe the news of Barber's death.
"Maybe it happened to inspire all of us to live better and stop taking things for granted," Waller said. "But his legacy will live in me I can guarantee you that..and as long as that high school is there in Manchester people will always remember Korvotney Barber.
"He inspired so many people in his short time on this earth."
Waller added "while I was writing this...the tears started to fall for the first time....pray for the Barber family!"
Barber averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds at Auburn. He finished on a high note, scoring the winning basket to beat Tennessee and send Auburn on a streak that saw the Tigers win nine of their next 10 games. He closed out his career at home on Senior Night with a big game, registering a double-double before halftime in a 69-53 win over SEC champion LSU. That 2008-09 team won 24 games, the second most in school history.
Korvotney Barber was important on the court. And off it.
"A guy like Vot can't be replaced," Hargrove said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine