"The Shirley Barnes Recruitment"
The Pangos All Star Basketball Camp took place in Southern California the last weekend so I decided to take in the Sunday session at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach. 120 talented kids are divided into 12 teams. Arriving for the first of eight Sunday games, I confirmed at least two widely-held truths - First, that you can't tell the players without a program and second, that God smiles on the feeble-minded…on me in this case.
So I walk in the gym and there are three games going simultaneously. I elect to sit under the basket of the middle court thinking this will provide me with an opportunity to see the goings on. The players are playing "run n' gun" AAU-style basketball with nothing but numbers on their jerseys. After about ten minutes it finally occurred to me that my time might be more productive if I actually knew who was who. So I turned to the woman on my left and asked if she had a roster of the campers. Unfortunately she did not but was able to locate one from some folks a couple of seats over. I asked if she was local and she indicated she was visiting from Iowa. My, my, "what a coincidence" I volunteered, I was hoping to see a player from Iowa compete. Fortunately for me I was in my Stanford Golf Club shirt and my benefactor suggested I might want to start the roster inspection with number 75, one Harrison Barnes. Shortly thereafter, I took the opportunity to introduce myself to one Ms. Shirley Barnes.
Shirley was kind enough to give me a quick report on some of the activities during the first two days of the camp. If I recall correctly, I believe the Barnes' had a birthday celebration with an Oak Hill PG Pe'Shon Howard. She also explained the roster was going to be depleted on Sunday as one of the players assigned to Harrison's camp team could only participate during the first two days of the event. So unfortunately I will not be able to report on some kid named Dawkins who played with Harrison on Friday and Saturday. Shirley explained the father had accompanied young Dawkins on the trip; they were from Northern California as I recall. :
Anyway, Shirley as it turns out, has a son who is a pretty good basketball player - Did I fail to mention that he is Scout's #1-ranked small forward in the '10 class, a versatile six-foot, six-inch, 190-pound athlete who can also play shooting guard? The talented youngster is also supposed to be a better-than-average cello player and ran track initially before starting his basketball career in the fifth grade. Barnes has a ten-year-old sister who is now running track and will be choosing an instrument shortly as well. The smart money is on the viola, I believe. She elected to pass on the California trip so she could enjoy the end of the school year with her friends. Ms. Barnes sounds like a participant in life as opposed to a spectator. Good for her.
In all seriousness, Harrison Barnes is a marvelous ball player. He works inside and out, uses both hands, dribbles low, jumps effortlessly, moves laterally with cat-like quickness and displays a good attitude on the court. The Barnes' are staying on in California to visit UCLA and Stanford. These are two of the schools still active in the process. I believe Shirley mentioned 12 schools remain on the list (understandably, all are top-notch basketball schools). I asked how you evaluate programs and personalities when you have limited contact with coaches who are very effective salesmen. The Barnes' have elected to make the decision as a family without outside input. After meeting Shirley, a good decision I believe, eliminating any chance of a conflict of interest. Shirley indicated they have taken advantage of basketball events over the years to establish relationships with coaches at and are now actively using the unofficial and official visit process to further evaluate schools and coaches. Listening to her reinforces the notion that success, as a college basketball coach requires a lot of travel. Trust-based relationships are built over years not months.
At the end of the day, Harrison Barnes' hard work in the classroom and in the gym along with the support of his family has presented him with a number of attractive options, Stanford is one. Should the impressive young man choose the Cardinal, we would be adding not just a five-star player, but a great family to the Stanford community.
Editor's Note: Our pal Bob Miller is a volunteer contributor to TheBootleg and is not a "booster" or "representative of Stanford Athletics"...but he is nevertheless a heck of a "recruitnik" and we sure appreciate his frequent reports!
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