Will Barton, a product of Baltimore and Memphis committ is a consensus Top 10 overall player in the Class of 2010.
Will took the time out to speak with me Tuesday as he was at the LeBron James Skills Academy. “Camp is going real great. A great atmosphere. A lot of competition, so it’s going real well.” I asked about playing with LeBron on the court, “I hit like 5 straight threes when he was on the court.” Will described the strengths of his game to me as; “Strength’s are that I’m a great scorer, I can get my teammates involved and I’m very versatile. And I play hard, I have a constant motor.” It is easy to see that Will is a slender, wiry athlete at this point and I asked about how much he has been in the weight room this summer and working on adding strength “Yeah, definitely. That’s what I have to do to take my game to the next level.” When Will fills out and gets stronger, watch out, currently he can get in the paint and finish whenever he wants and also can knock down shots from behind the line. His game offensively is as complete you can find.
Barton’s decision to attend to Memphis came out of the blue it seemed to some people in recruiting circles. Considering the timing of his commitment and the allegations caused by Derrick Rose and his test scores, I asked Will about his anticipation for Memphis and if other programs around the country are seeing how solid he is on the Tigers, “Yes sir. I’m excited about Memphis. They try to sometimes, but you know, that just comes with the territory.” And if he ever had re-considered his college choice “No, to me, that is in the past and it’s a fresh start.” That certainly is good news for new head Coach Josh Pastner, when the topic of putting trust into a rookie head coach, Barton replied “You know Coach Pastner, even though it’s his first year, he has a lot of experience was under great coaches, at Arizona under Lute Olsen who won a national championship and under John Calipari, another great head coach. And he played at The University Arizona so he has a lot of basketball experience and I trust him.”
Will’s brother, Antonio Barton also will make his way to Memphis and the two had looked at the prospect of playing together, certainly another selling point for Will on Memphis; “That was the biggest factor at the end of the day, during the recruiting process we talked about if we wanted to play together or not. And when we really got serious about it, we sat down and decided that we did want to play together. And at the end of the day it was Memphis.”
Will will attend Brewster Academy in New Hampshire next season after playing for Lake Clifton back home in Maryland. Academically, Will informed me, “I’m doing real strong in the class room.” As it once had been a bit of a struggle for him. His goals at Brewster next year include “Going undefeated and becoming the number one player in the country.”
With a committed focus that is obvious when talking to Will Barton those goals are in his reach and, it appears it won’t be too long before he’s sharing the court with LeBron James again.