The six-foot-seven inch junior wing is committed to doing everything in his power to help his team achieve their goal of winning a state championship while just being one of the guys.
With a posse that consists of approximately two people (his mother and
sister), Harrison Barnes is as down to Earth and
“regular” as a player in his position could
possibly be. Of course, that hasn’t stopped opposing crowds
from targeting him at times.
“I feel that, yes, I am a marked man at times,”
said Barnes of some extra treatment given to him by fans of other
schools. “But, I don’t worry to much about it. I
know that I’m just one of five when we step out there so I
just go out there and try to push it aside.”
Many star players talk about being a team player, but Barnes is sincere
about it. He’s sworn off discussing his recruitment until the
season is over, expects no preferential treatment and does everything
that is asked of him.
Driven to succeed on and off the floor, Barnes is the total package. He
has size, athleticism, shooting ability and well rounded all around
game. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that he’s just
16 and that’s something that his high school coach Vance
Downs sees every day.
“What adds to his succcess level is his passion for the game
of basketball,” says Downs of Barnes. “The young
man is obviously talented but he works extremely hard, as hard as
anybody I’ve ever seen. What people don’t know is
that he’s just a kid. He handles himself so well with the
press and with adults and everything.
“But, let’s remember that he’s still a
teenager and there’s still a lot of fun in that
So far this season, Ames has raced out to an 8-0 start and sits atop
the state rankings. The Little Cyclones are balanced, have depth off
the bench and a guy that they can count on to take over when needed in
The junior credits his improvement on the perimeter for helping to take
his game to the next level.
“I think the biggest difference in my game would be that
I’ve improved my perimeter skills,” Barnes told
Phog.Net. “I’m more aggressive too. I’m
not as hesitant to shoot and I think my overall game has improved from
my shooting to passing to rebounding.”
With his status as one of the most highly recruited juniors in the
country, Barnes has had his fair share of people looking to get into
his ear. Grounded and humble, he’s easily shaken off those
without his best interests at heart and he’s kept his inner
circle pretty tight.
“I just pay attention to the people that are trying to make
me better,” says Barnes. “It’s the people
who are providing me insight. I don’t need people to tell me
how good I am or that I’m going to be this or that. I need
people to instruct me and who will let me know what I need to get
It’s that passion to get better that his high school coach
counts as Barnes biggest strength.
“I know it’s a bit of a boring answer. But, I think
his biggest strength is his passion to get better, I really
do,” says Downs. “Whatever he needs to work on or
is told that he needs to work on, he’ll attack that deficit
with tremendous intensity.”
Now into the heart of the high school season, Barnes is looking to end
his junior season in a big way. After that, he’ll start to
think about his recruitment again. Until then, though, it’s
all about Ames High.
“Right now my primary focus is just winning a state
championship,” finishes Barnes. “All my power and
energy and focus are being put into that. I think after the high school
season, which will hopefully end on a good note, then I will start to
focus on recruiting again. But right now, I’m just focused on
Barnes Stays Focused On Task
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