HS: Ames (Iowa)
AAU: Howard Pulley
Class of 2010
The first opportunity I had to see Barnes play was during April of 2007 at the Real Deal on the Hill in Fayetteville, Ark. Passing through Bud Walton Arena on my way to lunch, I was drawn into watching the All-Iowa Attack 15-and-under team because of an impressive young wing making plays. As it turns out, that wing was Barnes and this is what I wrote during my initial viewing of him where I rated him as an Elite High Major prospect. "A good looking young wing with long arms, athleticism and a nice feel for the game, he's pretty complete for such a young player. He handles the ball fairly well, makes jumpers to 17 feet and is an excellent rebounder. Looks to have plenty of room to grow and is on his way to becoming a high level player if he continues to develop."
Taking a closer look at his game, an area that has always stuck out is how fluid and under control of his body he is in everything that he does on a basketball floor. There's zero wasted motion when he plays, allowing him to raise up quickly for jumpers, slice to the lane for finishes or stop on a dime and explode into a pull-up jumper from between 12 and 17 feet that has turned into a major weapon.
Having played quite a bit in the post during the earlier portions of his career, Barnes also benefits from a well developed post game. He spins to either shoulder for turnaround jumpers on the baseline, uses fakes to his advantage and is unguardable in the high post. When the shot isn't there, he's also unselfish enough to find others and is a particularly good passer out of that high post area where he alertly fires the ball to open cutters on their way to the bucket.
In addition to his well rounded offensive game, Barnes gives tremendous effort in other areas of the game. He's been a dominant rebounder at times and certainly is well above average on the glass for a wing player. Defensively, there's never been any issues with lack of effort and Barnes has almost always asked to defend the best player on the opposing team regardless of what position they play. Of course, that just goes back to that competitive fire to be the best that seems to drive every move he makes on the floor.
Although he generates good lift on his jumper, has a good release point and shoots a ball with plenty of arch and rotation, there's still a little room for improvement. At times, he's a little straight up and down in his shot set-up, but again this is being hypercritical of an elite prospect so it's not even fair to call it a "weakness".
While he never shies away from defending another elite player, there's still some room for improvement on that end. There's no lack of effort, but he can be a little stiff and sometimes struggles to get all the way into a defensive stance and shuffle laterally. However, his excellent reach, fast hands and wiry strength often allow him to make up for any issues on that end.
Scouting Report: Harrison Barnes
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