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. Scout.com ranks Barton the No. 1 shooting guard in the country and No. 10 player overall, while Rivals.com 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.”
“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