"I'm getting used to [the attention]," said Barnes of a recruiting process that is clicking into overdrive already. "I've seen most of these coaches watching me when I'm playing AAU ball, but having them come to the school and knowing they are there to watch me is pretty neat as well. Right now I'm just appreciative of it all, and I'm taking my time to learn about each school that is interested in me."
Being a junior has its advantages as no decision is required of him for up to the next 18 months (should he make a Spring decision in 2010). However, Barnes is being proactive in his recruitment with hopes of finding the proverbial "right fit".
"I haven't ruled anyone out at this point because I'm still looking at the information I have from each school. Recently some schools have started to come into the picture and I don't want to have a closed door on any opportunity yet. Eventually I am going to start looking at everything I have and then I'll start to narrow down my focus."
One of the schools that appears to have an above average chance of making that narrowed list is Duke, which recently sent head coach Mike Krzyzewski to Ames in search of yet another McDonald's All-American to be.
"Coach K was here for an open gym and made sure he stayed for the entire time. Because of the rules I didn't get to speak with him, but I was able to make sure he knew that I knew he was there. I have had a chance to talk to him since and we talked a lot about the Olympics and what he was able to do with that program. The way he was able to take a roster full of great players and help them play like a team is what he's been doing at Duke. It shows that you can recruit a lot of great players and everyone can still be successful."
Barnes, who boasts and impressive academic resume on top of his basketball achievements, says that a trip to see the program Coach K has built is in the works though the details are still a bit fuzzy at this time.
"Right now I am trying to get a visit set up with Duke so I can get an overall feel of the campus and the program. I want to see it first hand. I know it's a great school, and I want to see it for myself. I am going to Kansas for the Late Night event on October 17th. Because of where I am, most every trip I take is going to be a long one and it's really going to come down to being able to work other trips out financially - so I may be waiting to see some places on official visits."
As Barnes continues to move through the recruiting process, is there a particular combination of attributes that will set one school apart from the others in his mind?
"Really I want to find a school with great academics so I can be set up after basketball. You never know when that will happen, so that's something to keep in mind. I'd also like to find a school where I have a great relationship with the coaches and where I feel like I can trust the coaches."
As a sophomore Barnes led his high school team to a 20-3 overall records before losing in the Class 4A substate finals. In those 23 contests Barnes averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game. In addition to his standout career on the basketball court, Barnes is also an accomplished track and field athlete - finishing sixth in the state in the high jump (6-2) and 10th in the long jump (20' 5").