A 6-2, 190-pound redshirt sophomore, Ward was granted a release by Texas so he can return to Alabama to play college basketball closer to his home in Montgomery where he was a standout performer at Jeff Davis High School.
Ward started the first three games for the Longhorns last season. He averaged 6.7 points and three rebounds per contest, but he suffered a serious injury in warmups prior to game four that ended his season.
Varez Ward is shown in action for the Longhorns.
After suffering a ruptured right quadriceps tendon he received a medical hardship redshirt, which means he has three seasons of eligibility. He is scheduled to start classes on Monday.
Ward is expected to bolster the Auburn roster, but it is not known yet if he will be physically ready to play for the 2010-2011 season or if he will be exempted from the NCAA's rule on transferring from one Division I program to another that requires a redshirt year.
Barbee, who is in his first season as head coach of the Tigers after being hired away from the University of Texas-El Paso, lost the team's only returning starter when Frankie Sullivan tore an ACL in a pickup game in the summer at Greensboro.
Auburn's four other starters last season were senior.
Another Tiger, 6-9 sophomore forward Ty Armstrong, also suffered an ACL injury. There is a good chance that both players will take medical hardship redshirts and miss the entire 2010-2011 season.