Barnett Pledges To Saint Louis

The Saint Louis University basketball team received a commitment on Sunday from shooting guard Jake Barnett, a transfer from Toledo who led the Rockets in scoring as a freshman this past season.

Barnett, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard, said he was sold on Saint Louis U. for several reasons, but especially because of the background of coach Rick Majerus.

"He's a winning coach," Barnett said. "I think that's a lot what we have in common. I just want to win. That stands out to me. I can relate to that. I want to win, too. … I want to play for him and I want to play for this university. It was a total package."

The 20-year-old, who decided to transfer from Toledo after Gene Cross stepped down as the Rockets' coach, made official visits to Bradley and SLU. But after leaving St. Louis this weekend to head back to Wisconsin, he knew where he wanted to continue his college career.

"After visiting Saint Louis, I knew in my heart that's where I wanted to be," he said.

Barnett started each of the Rockets' 32 games this past season. He averaged a team-high 12.9 points and 34.1 minutes per game, made 71 of 192 3-point attempts (37 percent), 73 of 91 free throw attempts (80.2 percent) and grabbed 4.4 rebounds per contest.

He was selected to the Mid-American Conference's All-Freshman Team.

Barnett led Wauwatosa East High School to the Wisconsin Division I state championship as a senior in 2008. He then spent one year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., before heading to Toledo.

He said he got some recruiting attention out of high school — he said he had a scholarship offer from a Division II school as well as an offer from Wisconsin-Milwaukee to walk-on for a year before getting a scholarship — and then sorted through some mid-major offers from mostly schools in the Northeast while at Notre Dame Prep.

Barnett, who was hosted on his official visit by junior guard Paul Eckerle, already has a relationship with SLU sophomore point guard Kwamain Mitchell from when they were younger and played with and against each other.

"I played with Kwamain when I was younger, like eighth and ninth grade," he said. "Then I played against him for a few years in the summers. We have a good relationship. He's a good kid."

The Wisconsin native looked at the situation at SLU, with a team built to win plenty of games over the next few years, and liked what he saw.

"They have a lot of pieces," Barnett said. "I just looked at that. I thought it was cool. You get a good idea after meeting the players. I knew after seeing how they acted they were good kids."

Barnett will have to sit out next season, which he said he plans to use to get better and get stronger. But he will then have three years of eligibility with the Billikens.

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