Auburn's Korvotney Barber (1) blocks the shot of Texas-Pan American's Nathan Hawkins (2) as teammate Rasheem Barrett (21) looks on during a game Jan. 27, 2009. Barber, who averaged a doulbe-double that season, was found drowned Sunday in Florida.
(Photo: Dave Martin, Associated Press)
AUBURN, Ala. (USATODAY.com) -- Former Auburn men's basketball player Korvotney Barber died from an apparent drowning in the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City Beach, Fla., police said Sunday evening.
Barber, 26, went swimming with his wife and a friend on the beach behind the Boardwalk Beach Resort on South Thomas Drive and went missing about 7 p.m. Saturday night, according to Panama City Beach Cpl. Jason Gleason, and his body washed ashore at 3:49 p.m. Sunday between the Boardwalk Beach Condominiums and the neighboring Top of the Gulf Condominiums.
The Associated Press reported that although police believe Barber drowned, his body has been turned over to a medical examiner to determine the exact cause of death.
"The Auburn basketball program is deeply saddened to lose one its great players in Korvotney 'Vot' Barber," coach Tony Barbee said in a statement. "I was fortunate enough to meet Vot just last week when he stopped by my office to introduce himself to me. What an impressive guy. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones."
Gleason said Barber went out under double red flag conditions, meaning the beach was closed and the public was prohibited from enter the water. According to Gleason, Saturday's search operation included the Florida Wildlife Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bay County Sheriff's Air One helicopter and the police had their marine unit out Sunday.
Barber played under former Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, averaging 12.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game during his senior year in 2008-09. The former McDonald's High School All-American from Manchester, Ga. averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds over his four-year career at Auburn from 2005-09.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the devastatingly tragic and untimely death of Korvotney Barber," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement. "The Auburn Family remembers Vot as a relentless competitor with the heart of a champion. More importantly, those who knew him best remember him as a caring father who deeply loved his children and his family. Korvotney's family and friends will remain in our thoughts and prayers during this profoundly sad time."
After graduating Barber played two years overseas, most recently with Switzerland's Lugano Tigers, averaging 13.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
James Crepea also writes for the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, a Gannett company.