Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Class of 2018 Michael Barber Update

Jackson (MS) Academy class of 2018 small forward Michael Barber has shown significant improvement since transferring to Jackson (MS) Academy.

  • Name: Michael Barber
  • Classification: 2018
  • High School: Jackson Academy
  • AAU Team: MBA Hoops 17U
  • Position: Small Forward
  • HT-WT: 6-foot-8, 210
  • Scout Ranking: 3-Star
  • Colleges of Interest: Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Mississippi State, Northwestern State, Ole Miss, Stanford, Tennessee-Martin, Wake Forest

"The biggest improvement that he has made is his ability to score around the post," said JA head coach Bill Ball. "He can turn over either shoulder. He can finish with his left hand as well as his right. He has decent perimeter skills. He can step out and make the open three."

Ball has also been impressed with Barber's coachability.

"The thing that I love about him is his eagerness to learn the game," said Ball. "He is a sponge. He wants to be coached, he wants to get better. And I like that he looks like he is 18-years-old and he doesn't turn 16 until June."

Barber believes that playing for Ball has given him a comfort level that he hasn't had in the past.

"I am more comfortable because Coach Ball is giving me more of a leadership role on the team and I've taken it on," said Barber.

Barber confirmed what Ball said about the improvement in his offensive game.

"I feel more comfortable shooting the ball from outside or inside due to my work ethic," said Barber. "Coach Ball really focuses on shooting at JA. We have machines at JA that help you with that. Some days, I go to JA and all that I do is work on my shot."

Barber, one of the top players in the class of 2018, is being recruited by numerous colleges.

"I have offers from Baylor, Mississippi State, UT-Martin," he said. "I am also receiving interest from LSU, Ole Miss, La Tech, Stanford, Arizona, Northwestern Louisiana, Wake Forest and Arizona State."

He talked about the three schools that have already offered him.

"I don't know a whole lot about Baylor but I do know that Coach (Jerome) Tang from Baylor came to watch me play before the season started," said Barber. "I know that Mississippi State's Coach Howland is trying to change that program around. And I think he is doing a pretty good job with Malik (Newman) and Quinn (Quinndary Weatherspoon). That would be a good place to go. I don't know much about UT-Martin."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

Gene's Page Top Stories