COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jordan Barnett has had to wait to show what he’s capable of on a college basketball court, after one and a half seasons as a reserve forward at Texas and now as a transfer at Missouri.
On Friday night, the talented 6-foot-7, 215-pounder gave Tigers fans a glimpse of his skill set, first winning the team’s dunk content at its Halloween & Hoops event and then scoring 11 points and knocking down three 3-pointers in 15 minutes of an abbreviated scrimmage.
“It felt so good,” Barnett said. “It was unfortunate today because I’m pretty sick right now. But it still felt good to be able to get out there and hit some shots and play a little bit and fight through it. It felt really good. It was an unimaginable feeling. I mean, I haven’t played for two years. So it just felt unreal to even get on the court for the first time.”
Now he has to wait a little longer.
Because he transferred at midseason a year ago, he has to until mid December until he’s officially eligible.
“As unfortunate as that is, yeah, I’ve got to wait,” Barnett said. “But it will be more hyped toward our first game against Eastern Illinois. I cannot wait.”
Barnett played in 21 games as a freshman at Texas under coach Rick Barnes, averaging 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds.
As a sophomore, after Barnes was fired and replaced by Shaka Smart, Barnett appeared in four games and averaged 3.3 points and 2 rebounds per contest before deciding to transfer and start over elsewhere.
Barnett had a celebrated high school career, which included leading CBC High School to the Missouri state championship as a senior, when he was named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s player of the year.
He transferred to Missouri last January and had to watch the last few months of the Tigers’ 10-21 campaign from the sidelines, able to practice and work out and do everything except contribute out on the floor.
That made Friday’s 16-minute scrimmage all the more special.
Barnett’s gold squad lost 35-22, but the junior forward looked good, leading his side with 11 points on four-of-eight shooting and knocked down three of six 3-point attempts. He also grabbed three rebounds and added a steal.
“This is the only game he can play until December — the only time he can play before Dec. 17,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “We wanted to get him as much time as possible. Certainly he’ll bring something to our team when he becomes eligible. For now other guys have to pick up the slack.”
The Tigers’ home game against Eastern Illinois on Dec. 17 is their 10th of the season and comes just a few days before the Braggin' Rights game against rival Illinois in St. Louis — a potential showcase game for Barnett in his return to his hometown.
But first he has to wait and keep working and get ready for his return.
Barnett likes what he sees from the new-look Tigers so far.
“It’s going great,” he said. “We definitely have a completely different atmosphere here with the team. We definitely have a bunch of guys here that want to work extremely hard. We have a strength coach that pushing us extremely hard. It’s doing nothing but getting us better and getting us ready for the adversity we’re going to face in the season. It’s going outstanding, I think. I think we’ve had great preparation.”
The junior forward has seen a big difference from the last few months of last season and with this year’s squad, which includes six new freshmen and sophomores.
“It’s a huge difference,” Barnett said. “You can even see the attitude change with Coach A. He’s been more into it. He’s been on us a lot more. That’s something he didn’t necessarily do too much last year, as far as I saw. It’s definitely a new atmosphere.”
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