Barnes to play basketball at Mount St. Mary’s
Great Mills graduate signs to play Division I hoops at Mount St. Mary’s
One Great Mills High School basketball player was granted the chance of a lifetime to play NCAA Division I basketball.
Dee Barnes is headed to Mount Saint Mary’s University, which is under newly appointed head men’s basketball coach Dan Engelstad.
Barnes, who played his first three years of high school basketball at King’s Christian Academy in Callaway before moving on to Great Mills for his senior season, signed with Mount St. Mary’s in June, and will be joining a squad that went 18-14 overall last season.
“Mount St. Mary’s was a last minute school, and I decided to commit right away. I feel like this is the best choice me. I think it’s gonna go good. I think the team has a lot of potential,” Barnes said
Barnes and the Hornets were 19-4 overall and were undefeat- ed in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference’s Chesapeake Division a season ago under head coach Jeff Burrell. Burrell, the coach at Great Mills for the past two seasons, has known Barnes since the fifth grade through coaching him in the AAU league. Together, Burrell and Barnes saw the Hornets host a first-ever regional championship game.
“For Barnes to be able to go Division I, which was his goal, for him and his family to be able to experience that and to get accepted and get a full ride, that is amazing,” Burrell said. “He has the potential, going up to college, getting his degree, he will have a post-college career. But the influence he left behind is far more important. People will recognize that we are working hard here.”
Barnes, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, received the SMAC’s Most Outstanding Player honor, was the All-County Athlete of the Year and was picked to the all-state third team in his senior season. He averaged 21 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
“We did good, we finished out number one in SMAC and it was a good time and the first time the school hosted the regional final,” Barnes said.
According to Burrell, Great Mills hasn’t received a whole lot of good publicity since the shooting at the school this spring, so it makes Barnes’ success all the more crucial to showing the positive effect the school community and athletic programs have on students.
“When you look back on the tragedy and the shooting we had, we want to show people that we can take a chance on the young folks down here. The coaches have been working extremely hard to show them, too,” Burrell said.
He would like to thank his uncle “Tubby” Smith, the long-
time college head men’s basketball coach who is now the frontman at High Point University in North Carolina, and his mother Kimberly Dennis.
“Just my family,” Barnes said.
Burrell attributes Barnes’ accomplishment to him for his hard work.
“He’s an example of what a strong family and strong community can bless,” Burrell said. “But he does the work himself and pushes himself and has been helped by a lot of good coaches. He’s a kid that is chasing his dream and that family is supporting him.”
Barnes is excited about the contribution he can make playing for the Mount. Currently, he is training at the university over the summer for the upcoming season this fall. He is doing weight training and conditioning, team workouts and practices.
“I think Engelstad knows what he’s doing and he really knows the game. I’m looking to become a better player,” Barnes said.
Engelstad came from coaching basketball at the College of Southern Vermont, and recently accepted the job as the head coach at Mount St. Mary’s. Burrell and Engelstad are both graduates of St. Mary’s College of Maryland where they used to play basketball together. Engelstad is excited to have Barnes and a few other recruits joining his program this year.
“Dee Barnes is a very talented young man. He’s somebody that won’t back down from anybody. He’s a great athlete, plays above the rim, but also can score it. We’re just thrilled that were getting a player that has the versatility of Dee here,” said Engelstad in a Mount recruiting video.
Barnes looks up to James Harden, the shooting guard for the Houston Rockets.
“Just cause he knows how to use his body and his length to his advantage. I want to be a better scorer,” Barnes said.
“I can’t wait to see wait to see what he becomes,” Burrell said.
Great Mills High School graduate Dee Barnes signed in June to play NCAA Division I basketball at Mount St. Mary’s University. He is currently at the university for summer training and will play for the Mount’s new coach, Dan Engelstad.
Great Mills graduate Dee Barnes, pictured at right versus Chopticon this past season, recently signed to play NCAA Division I basketball at Mount St. Mary’s University.