Don’t miss the ultimate foodie event, The Baltimore Sun's Secret Supper


These are good times for Kevin Barnes. The recent Grafton High graduate is only a few months removed from the best basketball game of his life: a 24-point performance, including 6 of 7 3-pointers, in the 70-69 overtime loss to Christiansburg in the AA Division 4 state championship game.

Since then he’s learned that he’ll play for the East Squad in the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Game, set for Monday at Christopher Newport University, and graduated from Grafton. Barnes’ latest big moment came last week, when he committed to play college basketball at Virginia Wesleyan.

“It seems like everything is going my way right now,” said Barnes, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard who averaged 14 points this past season. “I’m thankful to be playing on the next level in the ODAC (Old Dominion Athletic Conference), one of the best conferences in Division III.

“And it’s a big deal to be the first to represent Grafton High School in the boys basketball all-star game. It’s a real exciting time for me.”

Clippers coach Jeremy Jordan says he thinks things will get more exciting for Barnes. He feels the up-tempo style favored by Virginia Wesleyan, which won the 2006 D-III national title and made the elite eight this past season, is perfect for Barnes.

“It’s a great fit for Kevin, because he a very skilled and athletic player with the ability to drive and penetrate,” Jordan said. “He’s really improved his outside shooting.”

And, Jordan is quick to note, Barnes has become a much more disciplined player. Barnes struggled as a junior, even in helping the Clippers win the Bay Rivers District tournament, because he freelanced too often.

But, after working hard on his individual game, Barnes blended much better into the Grafton system as a senior.

“His shot selection, defense and intensity all were better,” Jordan said. “And once he accepted and understood our system more, he thrived in it.

“We like to get out and play, but we don’t necessarily want to shoot off of the first pass unless a player is wide-open. He spent a lot of time in the gym getting better.”

Virginia Wesleyan coaches spent a lot of time in Grafton’s gym recruiting him. Former Warwick coach Ben Moore, a Wesleyan assistant, and Marlins’ head coach Dave Mecedo attended numerous Grafton games in their effort to recruit Barnes.

“Some other schools showed a lot of interest,” said Barnes, who also considered Christopher Newport, Lynchburg and Randolph-Macon. “But Coach Macedo was one of the first to recruit me and probably showed the most interest.”







Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad