The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 59

50 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2020   COMMITMENT PROFILE M any recruiting experts and Michigan fans won- dered how long it would take for head coach Juwan How- ard's Chicago background to pay off on the recruiting trail. They are wondering no longer. Four-star shooting guard Isaiah Barnes (6-6, 180) will play his senior season at Chi- cago Simeon after making a verbal commitment to play his college basketball for Howard and the Wolverines June 24. A long and lanky two guard with tremendous size for his position, Barnes is coming off of a big junior season at Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest in which he averaged 18.5 points per game and knocked down 65 triples while improving his long-range accuracy. The bouncy athlete, who is's No. 109 senior na- tionally, was poised for a big summer with the Illinois Wolves on the Under Armour Association circuit before COVID-19 altered the plans. He still picked up offers form Kansas, Iowa, Maryland, Illinois and several others before choosing Michigan. "Isaiah has been a great example of a young man who has continued to work to grow his game, develop his body and improve his on-court decision making," Wolves program director Mike Mullins said. "Hav- ing his brother Daniel as a Wolves alum and a great family to support his growth these past few years has allowed Isaiah to prosper. "It will also allow him, like many other alums of our program, to have his best days ahead of him after he leaves us for college." With no AAU season to add to his résumé, one many believed might rocket him into the top 100, Barnes had to rely on his high school video to boost his stock. Fortunately for him, it was outstanding. "We didn't get to see him this spring, so his ranking went up strictly off his high school film," Ri- national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said, noting he watched at least four full games and didn't evaluate off highlight film "When he's good, he's very good. He also had some pretty inconsistent swings. "This is a guy we first saw last summer and really wanted to like. He was big and long, very athletic and had ball skills, but he just didn't shoot the ball well." That changed this year. He had clearly put in the time to improve that part of his game, to that point that col- lege coaches were starting to line up. One — Howard — made the stron- gest connection with him. Barnes isn't active on the interview circuit, but he shared with The Chicago Sun Times how Howard won him over. "Our relationship grew so much over the past couple of months," Barnes said. "We talked almost every day. We talked about so many things other than basketball — about him being from Chicago, about be- coming a better man. I felt that connection with him. To top it off, the academics are great. It's the best place for me. "There is a great tradition at Michigan. I saw myself be- ing a part of that. Every offer I received was a blessing, but I felt it with Michigan. Coach Howard and I had some great conversations about wearing the maize and blue." Barnes admitted it was tough waiting his turn for of- fers to come in. He watched several of his teammates earn theirs a few years ago and wondered when his time would come. He left social media and even turned off his phone in stretches to concentrate on his game, but was confident his time would come. Often, he would leave the gym after a grueling workout only to return a few hours later. It paid off, Bossi noted. "He's stronger, tightened up his handle, shot the ball much better and played all over the floor," Bossi said. "His rise [from outside the top 150], though, came from evaluating high school games against regular kids, not the best players in the country. "That's a big difference." He would have loved to see him on a weekly basis this summer, Bossi added, but more and more kids are re- ceiving offers based on their prep film due to the pandemic. That's opened doors, and it's up to the coaches to realize what they're seeing. Howard has watched enough tal- ented players in his day to know who can play and who can't, Bossi noted. "He's not playing against teams with five to six Division I players, but his shooting was more consistent," Bossi said. "He's not just settling for his jump shot. He's not like an insane ball handler, but he's also not a defi- cient ball handler. For a 6-6 wing, he handles the ball well." By the time he arrives at Michi- gan, he should be even stronger. He's motivated, ready to show he's even better than his current ranking and willing to put in the time to prove it. — Chris Balas Barnes — a 6-6, 180-pound shooting guard who will play his senior season at Chicago Simeon — is listed as the nation's No. 109 overall player by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Juwan Howard Taps Into His Chicago Roots To Land Isaiah Barnes Barnes on Howard "We talked about so many things other than basketball — about him being from Chicago, about becoming a better man. I felt that connection with him."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - August 2020