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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Basketball recruit makes official visit

Recruiters track junior college guard from Wabash Valley

Just three weeks after signing one of the premier high school guards in the nation, the men's basketball program is on the trail of another highly-touted guard. \nAntwain Barbour, a 6-foot-5 guard from Wabash Valley Junior College, will make an official visit to IU beginning today. Should Barbour decide on IU, he would join 6-foot-4 guard Bracey Wright (The Colony, Texas) and 6-foot-1 guard Marshall Strickland (Sykes, Md.), both of whom have already signed to play for the Hoosiers beginning next fall. \nBarbour, who led Wabash Valley to a 36-1 record and the National Junior College Athletic Association championship last season, recently finished visits to UNLV and Kentucky. He will visit Cincinnati during the first weekend of practice, Oct. 12 and 13, RivalHoops.com recruiting analyst Russ Blake said. \n"Indiana has a shot," Blake said. "These visits will be critical in determining where Antwain winds up."\nKentucky is thought to have the inside track on Barbour, who played high school basketball in Elizabethtown, Ky., was recruited by UK and developed a solid relationship with Wildcat coach Tubby Smith. Former Wabash Valley coach Jay Spoonhour left the Warriors after last season to join his father, Charlie, at UNLV.\n"Kentucky has the inherent advantages," Blake said. "But, IU shows they're still a key. (This visit) is a good thing for IU."\nDespite the edge for UK and UNLV, IU managed to sneak into the picture early this month when coach Mike Davis made a visit to Mt. Carmel, Ill., to see Barbour practice. Barbour played both point guard and small forward at Wabash Valley, scoring 12.3 points per game during the regular season. The NJCAA Tournament MVP shot 68 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.\n"He can play the one, two or three spot," Wabash Valley assistant coach Jesse Watkins said. "He can shoot the three, he's athletic and can finish. He likes to play an up-tempo game. He will produce." \nBarbour did just that, exploding in the NJCAA Tournament, for more than 23 points per game, including 21 in the championship victory over Allegany (Md.) Junior College.\n"When the money is on the line, he is the guy with the ball in his hands," Blake said. "He might play horrible for two-thirds of a game, but for the last one-third, he makes plays. That's a big value. He tremendously cool, calm and collected. That's what sets him apart."\nBarbour separated himself from his fellow junior college stars this summer, when he toured China with the World University Games. Barbour played with a group of Division-I college players and was the only junior college player on the team. \nWhile trying out for the University Games, Barbour met IU sophomore forward Jared Jeffries, who was bidding for a spot on the Young Men's National Team. Jeffries made the first cut and later withdrew his name for consideration.\nBlake said Barbour wasn't a "big star" during the tour, but did familiarize himself with what he might expect on the collegiate level.\nBlake said some people are surprise that Barbour will make four visits. But Barbour must ensure, no matter where he goes, he will get immediate playing time; the junior college transfer will have two years of eligibility remaining. \nIllinois was believe to be a frontrunner earlier this week, but Wabash Valley coach Mark Nelson indicated Barbour has eliminated the Illini from his list. Illinois, like IU, recently signed a pair of heavily recruited guards. \n"He has to play right away," Blake said. "It's an unusual situation, but he has to go somewhere where he can get minutes. He can't make a mistake. If he goes to Indiana, he has to make sure he plays."\nWright and Strickland's decision to come to Bloomington could work for or against IU, Blake said. If Barbour signs, IU would have three guards joining the program next season. Blake said Barbour will probably play shooting guard in college, and said IU "has sold Antwain that (IU) will run a three-guard system" should Barbour decide on the Hoosiers. \nBoth Watkins and Blake said they expect a decision in November.\nMembers of the IU basketball program could not comment because of NCAA rules, and Barbour could not be reached for comment.

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