16 teams from 4 classes qualified in the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball tournament. Those teams will converge on Des Moines all chasing a championship.
While many players stand out, few have received division one college scholarships for their basketball abilities, there is one from Ames who is receiving a lot of attention these days that extends well outside the borders of Iowa.
“A 6-8 senior, #40 Harrison Barnes.”
Vance Downs, Ames High Head Coach: “He’s so explosive. He’s 6-8. He’s got all kinds of length, wingspan is 7 foot. He can score at all 3 levels, midrange game, game behind the arch, and can score under the basket.”
Vance Downs gets a close up view of the abilities of Harrison Barnes. As his basketball coach for the last 4 years at Ames High School, Downs knows more about the person and player that is Barnes.
Vance Downs: “He’s extremely talented. Works extremely hard, and has a lot of positive qualities, as far as coaching him, we do like every other player. We’re fortunate, not all #1 kids across the nation are this easy to coach as this kid.”
Radio Call: “Barnes gets the steal, lays it in.”
Ames’ KASI Radio Sports Director Dave Sprau also has a front-row seat to watch Harrison Barnes.
Radio call: “Barnes gets the rebound and stuff it home”
Dave Sprau: “The more notoriety he got, the more people turned out in curiosity to see him play, outside of this gym. You’ve got people outside of this gym, without any real connection to come out to a Ames High basketball game, come and watch to see how it turns out.”
Barnes led the Ames High School Little Cyclones to a perfect season and a state championship his junior year.
Radio Call: “Barnes steal, one handed jam.”
During that junior year, Barnes and his teammates had some high profile guests at their games — including several Division One college coaches from basketball’s elite programs. It is attention Barnes had been receiving since an impressive summer camp performances following his sophomore season.
But it was before his senior season began that Barnes set the stage for his college choice with a press conference. It was carried live on one of the ESPN channels, ESPNU, as well as several Iowa media outlets and his fans.
Barnes: ”Coach Roy Williams? “
While Iowa State was on his short list, Barnes decided to leave the state and play for North Carolina. The Tar Heels have won 2 of the last 5 national championships.
Barnes: “I haven’t thought twice of going to UNC.”
Barnes has close to a 4-point grade point average, plans to major in international business and graduate in 3 years. But for now, he says he wants to focus on his senior year with his teammates.
Barnes: “It’s great to set all that aside and just really focus on all my energy to Ames High basketball. A lot of people don’t know that recruiting requires a lot of energy and time. Just to be able to focus on Ames basketball, its’ a lot of, its stressful, stress free now, I should say.”
Barnes also shows confidence and poise during interviews. He even shows a comfort level with his coach on live TV.
KCCI: “I know you said your coach wasn’t too calm, I’m going to let you interview your coach Vance Downs because you know him better than I do.”
Barnes: “Coach Downs, you’re somewhat known to be uptight around games. How do you feel you were tonight?”
Downs: “I thought I did a much better job tonight than I have the last 2 or 3 games, I think that has a lot to do with how loose you are.”
Barnes: “I’ve done a few things in my career. I’m all about having a good time, coach Downs will be the first one to tell you that, and there’s a time to be fun and serious, when we’re on the floor, we’re serious.”
Downs: “You do a nice job asking those questions.”
Barnes: “That’s coach Vance Downs, Ames High now 30-0.”