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May 4, 2009

Will Barton updates his recruitment

In a year where everything has gone right for Lake Clifton shooting guard Will Barton, Saturday night couldn't have been more appropriate.

The 6-foot-6 junior led the Baltimore All-Stars to a 104-79 win over the D.C. team at the I-95 Elite Challenge at St. Frances Academy.


Barton, The Sun’s All-Metro Player of the Year, won game MVP honors, scoring 18 points to lead Baltimore.

“It felt good, playing out there with the top guys in Baltimore,” Barton said. “We’re all on the same team. Instead of having to compete against each other, we’re competing with each other against a pretty good D.C. team that’s loaded. ... I think we have the best class in America in the 2010 class. We have a very deep class with me hitting it off, Roscoe Smith, C.J. Fair, Antonio Barton. We have a lot of big names, so it’s fun to get out there and put it all together.”

Saturday night was one of Barton’s last opportunities to play in front of a hometown crowd. The five-star prospect, who led Lake Clifton to an undefeated season and the Class 3A state title after transferring from National Christian Academy, is headed to prep school for his senior season. Barton said he’s considering Brewster Academy in New Hampshire and Mountain State Academy in West Virginia.

Both major recruiting services have taken note of Barton’s play last winter with Lake Clifton and during AAU ball this spring with Nike Baltimore Elite. ranks Barton the No. 1 shooting guard in the country and No. 10 player overall, while rates him the No. 24 junior nationally. Needless to say, Barton has plenty of schools to choose from.

“Oh, man. [Recruiting is] crazy,” Barton said. “I’m gonna try to remember all of them. Kentucky, Arizona, Memphis, Texas, Florida, South Florida, Central Florida, Xavier, Duke, Oklahoma, Indiana, Syracuse, Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, of course Maryland, Georgetown. I’m trying to remember them all. I think that about sums it up. I might be leaving a couple off, but those are the ones I can think about off the top of my head.”

Kentucky began recruiting Barton when Billy Gillispie was the coach. Since Gillispie was fired and former Memphis coach John Calipari was hired, the Wildcats’ pursuit of Barton has only increased.

“They’re recruiting me very hard. I’m their number one option in the class,” Barton said. “Coach Calipari, I’ve talked to him numerous times. He’s a great guy. Everyone knows he’s a great coach. That dribble-drive offense is very attractive to a player like me, being 6-6 and [being able to] play the 1, 2 and 3 and put it on the floor the way I do and shoot and pass. So it’s a good fit for me, and we’ll just see how it turns out and where I go.”

Maryland started pursuing Barton even before his time at National Christian Academy, back when he was an unknown reserve at City College. Barton said he’s appreciative of the Terps’ dogged pursuit.

“I like Maryland, too,” Barton said. “They’ve been recruiting me since 9th grade and they’ve been recruiting me hard. They’re definitely up there at the top of my list, too. I like coach Gary Williams. They get up and down, play aggressive defense. And he lets the guards go. So I’m definitely taking Maryland seriously, too.”

Another possibility for Barton is going to school with younger brother Antonio Barton, a 6-foot-2 combo guard who’s also a junior. There is some overlap on their school lists. Will said they’d like to play together, but both brothers will do what’s best for themselves.

“Oh yeah, we talk about [playing together in college] all the time,” Barton said. “I just want to say that Antonio, he’s a great player by himself. He doesn’t need me. He has schools that are recruiting him that aren’t recruiting me, so he’s proven that he can do it by himself this year. We would like [to play together], but whichever situation is best, that’s the one we’ll take. Him playing by himself, me playing by myself ... playing together ... whichever the best situation is, then that’s what we’re going to roll with.”

While Barton’s list of schools is lengthy, that may not necessarily mean he’s far off from making his choice. A decision could come sooner than one might expect.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a ways off [from making a decision],” Barton said. “But I’m just enjoying recruiting right now and being recruited at a high level because it’s a blessing. It’s very exciting, so I take it day by day and I’ll never take it for granted.

“Everybody’s asking when I’m going to make a decision and I don’t know yet. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week. Whenever it happens, it happens.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Will Barton by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 18, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:15 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Local recruiting


Excellent article. This pretty much follows along a radio spot interview he did a while back that I had heard. it seems as though Kentucky and the aura of the program has could have him going and Calipari is a "good" recruiter. It is nice too see that MD was in there before anyone really knew him and has been there all along. If we do not get him it would not be for lack of effort. I think he would make a real statement and help put the terps consistenly back in the top 25 for a while along with not only Terrence Ross and the rest of the crop of new bodies. If the Terps could get Barton or Smith that would be excellent. I think Barton would fit in well with the Terps style. I like the local talent staying home but sometimes they feel the pull to leave regardless. Either way as long as we make the proper effort that is all we can ask. I think based on his comments that Maryand is right there and I feel pretty good about it. We have a good shot.

He would be an excellent addition and I hope he chooses the Terps.

Personally I would be way more excited about getting Barton or Smith than Stephenson.


Is MD recruiting Will's brother as well? We may be in a better position to land and play both rather than a Kentucky. Is Barton a one and done, or two and done player? Has Calipari hired his AU coach yet for some meaningless job at Kentucky?

Nice article, and keep on him and Smith for playing for the HOME TEAM.

Come on Barton Brothers and Smith...BE A TERP!

Good stuff Matt, thanks for keeping us updated. This is better than the NFL draft and more exciting. Keep up the great coverage!


I know you wrote this weekend that Smith was going to narrow down his list of colleges this week to ten. Are you going to do a follow-up report on Smith? You have made the recruiting at MD exciting Matt. We need more coverage on our home teams and you are delivering. Keep it up and you have more influence then you think on these kids. We get Barton Brothers and Smith and things will be crazy at Comcast!

Let's go MARYLAND!!!

He is to Kentucky bet on it. His parents are already looking for a home in Lexington.

To Mr. Doubtful-
I take it you have a source for your little tid-bit on the Bartons looking for a house in Lexington...and by "source", I bet you have the same b.s. quality sources that Zags is always quoting. Don't make me put you and that moron Zags in the same idiot box.

Rob -- Maryland is recruiting Antonio Barton, but with Terrell Stoglin in the fold, they probably don't need another point guard for 2010. Will Barton definitely has NBA potential. I think Kentucky's got a very good shot at him. I'll check in with Roscoe again in a few weeks. Really glad you enjoy the coverage, although FYI, there's absolutely no influence whatsoever on my part. That would violate pretty much every journalistic rule known to man.


I meant by covering these local players and having the fans write in talking how much they want them is the influence we have. Before your coverage, and Heather's, there really was little to no reporting on our local recruiting efforts. I have to believe these kids check out your articles and possibly the posts and every little bit factors into the decision making process. The more indepth the artlicle, like the one on Barton, shows how much we want him to go to MD and play for the HOME TEAM.

A couple questions for you today since you mentioned that we are good on PGs for 2010...Scout has us recruiting PG Kyrie Irving, any truth to that and what impact does that have on Stoglin and Antonio Barton? Does that also show that Will and his brother may be leaning towards another school? And does that also show we may not be overly comfortable with Stoglin running the point or signing him?

PS. Please tell Zagoria about professional journalism. He has no clue.

Rob -- I see what you meant. Sorry for misunderstanding. On Irving, I believe the Terps made his top 10, but I don't think anyone expects that to happen. I think both Bartons genuinely do like Maryland, but my sense is they're probably leaning toward other schools. I think the staff is comfortable with Stoglin, but they're covering their bases because point guard is such a crucial need in that class.

I wonder if "definitely taking Maryland seriously" is a euphemism for "gotta appreciate their effort, but I'm better than Maryland - no shot I end up there."

maryland's bulge at the point does seem to make a lot of room for the younger barton.

Hopefully Univ. of Ky gets him so they can have 1 and done players every year. With the guys Calipari will be getting every year they will have a revolving door of players constantly.

Will's comments about Calipari are very respectful and you can sense he puts Calipari in a class by himself. I'd have to ask him how many national championships Calipari has won. The Terps would be a great stepping off point for Barton as so many great guards come out of the ACC. While Calipari, whom I love to watch coach, has won many games, his teams don't go up against the best week after week. We'll have to see how he does in the SEC which is definitely his most challenging stage. Wherever Will goes, they will be fortunate to enjoy his talents for two or three years.

Why do you all have to hate on Kentucky? I realize you would like to keep good players in state, but it's not Kentucky's fault for being the BEST college program in the country before Calipari came, and now we are hands down the best offer to any up and coming stud. Who cares if its a revolving door if it keeps bringing in #1 rankings and National Championships? You guys have fun with 3 star players and 4 year guys that get you occasionally a 9 or 10 seed in the NCAA if you make it in. GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!!

Trying to rationally discuss college basketball with someone aligned to kentucky is akin to wrestling with a get muddy and the pig likes it.

Dude when was the last time calipari won a national championship you guys kill me with this calipari crap he can't even win with the top five recruits in the nation gary teaches guys the game of basketball and he does a pretty good job!!!!!!

Why be so negative about coach cal? Sounds to me like your a little jealous, regardless coach Williams is a great hands on coach, I think his only downfall is recruiting, anyway go CATS!!

As a Kentucky fan, I would love to have Barton in the fold. With coach Calipari's recruiting, I think we'll see a return to the glory years of the mid 90's & bring home #8+. That being said, there's no reason to gloat or denigrate any other program... Especially one that's been run so well, like Maryland. Let's wait until we get back to being the powerhouse that we were so used to before we celebrate. However, I too cannot help but caught up with the wave of enthusiasm that is emanating from Lexington, Ky right now. GO CATS!

I didn't think Mountain State in WV allowed 5th year seniors. They are ranked in USA Today with Montrose Christian, Oak Hill Academy, etc. I believe Will Barton is leaving Lake Clifton, because next year will be his 5th year of high school, correct?

UrbanLegend -- You're right on the reason for Barton's prep school transfer. He was at City for two years, National Christian Academy for one and Lake Clifton for one. I didn't know that about Mountain State. For what it's worth, Barton told me those were the two schools he was looking at, but Digital Sports reported later in the week that Brewster was the one.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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