Barnes is a high IQ point guard that excels at running his team. He understands how to control pace and get the ball to his teammates in positions where they can be most successful. The CBC standout has an advanced feel for running a team in the half court scene by getting his squad into sets, organizing them, and initiating the offense.
Working around screens in the pick and roll is another area in which he excels. Barnes is a slick ball handler that has solid control in traffic and can weave in and out of the defense, especially in transition, where he displays speed and surprising athleticism. He is a solid shooter when coming off a screen as well as spotting up when playing off the ball.
Barnes breakout sophomore campaign was a key factor in a deep playoff run this past season which ended in a state championship for CBC.
"We ended up winning state.," he said excitedly. "That was our main goal from the beginning. We played Hickman in the state championship game. They gave us a hard battle and took us to overtime. During the season we tried to bust our butts every day in practice."
Running the show for one of the most talented teams in St. Louis alongside a quality group of veterans and young prospects was a valuable experience for Barnes. That experience helped him grow his game and poise.
"I have been more of a leader, getting people in their spots, and being really aggressive on defense. Being more vocal," he said.
This summer he is playing up on the St. Louis Eagles 17U in the prestigious Nike EYBL circuit. He is ready for the challenge of going against the best of the best.
"I am looking forward to playing the toughest competition in the nation," he said. "Playing really tough point guards that are going to challenge me. When I play again with the 17s next year I really get a chance to showcase my skills."
Although it is still early in the process Barnes is receiving interest from several college programs.
His lone offer at this point is from SIU-Edwardsville. Additionally, the Illini coaching staff has been out to see him multiple times.
"I have talked to the assistant coach," he said. "He has been up to a couple games. I played in front of Coach Groce a little bit. I really like the school."
Illinois assistant coach Jamall Walker has tremendous ties to St. Louis and knows Barnes' high school coach Justin Tatum (father of Jayson Tatum) extremely well. The young guard has talked with Walker about his playing style.
"He tells me to push the tempo and be more vocal because that is what he is looking for in a point guard," he said. "That is what I have been working on."
Barnes was also able to catch a few games on television last year and liked what he saw.
"I watched them play a little bit," he said. "They are really up tempo. I like how they get after it on defense."
Whether Illinois will offer a 2016 point guard will likely depend on how the 2015 class shapes up. Barnes is one they are keeping an eye on as he is among the more intriguing Midwest prospects at that position.