Yeah, I know, I'm a geek like that, but Barnes has become a nationwide phenomenon in fan bases of some of the biggest collegiate programs. He's a message board cult figure, particularly at Iowa State where he's discussed on a daily basis.
It was obvious both sides have Barnes at the top of their wish list. It goes beyond the fans though. Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams have both been in Ames in the last two months and are hot on the trail.
It's not just Coach K and Williams. A who's who of college basketball coaches was at Little Cyclone open gym sessions over the last two months to see Barnes up close.
Imagine that for a second, every coach under the sun coming to see a kid in Ames, Iowa. It'd be like Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel, Mack Brown, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden coming to Ames football practice to watch Sam Tim run between the tackles.
This fall, Barnes has also squeezed in an unofficial visit to Duke and he was in Lawrence for Kansas' Midnight Madness when the school raised the 2007-08 NCAA Championship banner to the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse.
With the Ames High basketball season starting soon, Barnes is putting all recruiting talk into hibernation for the winter. This is nothing new as he did the same thing last year.
He's fully committed to his teammates and doesn't want any outside distractions. He should be commended for that way of thinking in this me-first, team-second society of high school athletics.
I caught up with Barnes Wednesday at Trisha Nesbitt's national letter of intent signing at Ames High School. With time quickly running out before Barnes puts a gag order on anything not dealing with the Little Cyclones, I had a rapid fire Q and A session with him about anything and everything in his recruiting process.
He had the following to say about a range of topics ...
On his busy summer and fall: "I made a lot of memories, just going and meeting a lot of great people and seeing a lot of prestigious universities. Networking that will probably stay with me the rest of my life. It's just been an unbelievable experience."
On how crazy his recruiting is getting: "I realize now what most of the elite players and friends I've met on the circuit do and have to go through. I would say this year is pretty big for all the schools recruiting me and for myself because it's time for me to go out and see how they play this season and their successes and the different things they do."
On following teams this season that are recruiting him: I'll watch on ESPN and track their records and just look into schools more in depth. It will give me more time to evaluate them and plan my official visits for next year."
On his unofficial visit to Duke: "I got a chance to meet the coaching staff, the players, the strength coach, the academic coach and take a tour of the campus. It was just a great experience for me to get fully immersed in what it's all about.
(Cameron Indoor Stadium) was very nice, I liked it a lot."
On Midnight Madness at Kansas: "It was very impressive to see them raise their banner and just to see all the community support around them. Allen Fieldhouse was sold out for it; that was impressive. You can tell there's just a lot of history there when you walk in."
On Iowa State's upcoming season: "I'll have a chance to go to a lot of the Iowa State games so I'll have a chance to look at them. I would say it's a big year for them, not just in terms of my recruiting, but for the program in general. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do this year."
On squashing all recruiting talk until after the season: "After November 17, all interviews defer to (Ames boys basketball coach Vance Downs). I want a team-oriented focus."
On message boards: "I follow no Iinternet message boards at all. I don't have time for it, plus it's not anything I'm really into."
Jeff Stell can be reached at (515)-663-6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.